World Cup spirit must live on - Jordaan
A year after Spain were crowned Fifa World Cup champions, local organising committee CEO Danny Jordaan hoped the spirit which prevailed during the tournament would become part of everyday life in South Africa.
Monday marks one year since Spain defeated the Netherlands 1-0 in the final of the global showpiece in Johannesburg.
“We must now continue to make that 30-day period a permanent feature of life and of our society,” Jordaan said at a World Cup anniversary celebration in Ekangala, outside Bronkhorstspruit on Sunday.
The Ekangala community celebrated as Jordaan and a contingent of politicians and football administrators cut the ribbon of a World Cup legacy stadium with an artificial pitch.
With an estimated cost of over R3 million, and a well thought out contingency plan, the Ekangala Stadium has the potential to address the needs of soccer at grassroots level.
Looking back at last year's World Cup, the first time it was staged on the African continent, Jordaan described it as one of the proudest moments in the continent's history.
“On July 11 we will remember the 30 days of the tournament as being one of the most special moments in our country," Jordaan said.
"The tournament saw black and white coming together and co-owning the country just like the non-racial South Africa Nelson Mandela and Oliver Tambo wanted.
“As we look back one year, we are very happy to look upon a project that the world said we were not capable of delivering.”
Jordaan said tremendous support from the South African public had ensured a successful tournament.
“One of the primary reasons for the unqualified success of the World Cup is the extent to which the people of South Africa embraced the World Cup and celebrated the event.
“We have set a benchmark that future hosts will have to work very hard to achieve or surpass.”
Jordaan thanked government for its continued support and urged all stakeholders to help keep the momentum alive.
He said the success of the soccer extravaganza had already started opening doors elsewhere.
“We can walk tall in the world. The world has taken note and no longer can we be second guessed about it, to the extent now that even the IOC is encouraging South Africa to think about the 2020 Olympics.
“The Olympics is now the only major event not to have been hosted on the continent, and the world is again looking at South Africa and saying we have the capacity and the infrastructure.”