2010 World Cup will help mend rifts in SA says De Klerk


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2010 World Cup will help mend rifts in SA says De Klerk

Former South African President F.W. De Klerk has said the 2010 World Cup will send a message to the world that Africa in general and South Africa in particular can compete with the best in the world. ”In so doing it can boost the image and self-confidence of an entire continent,” De Klerk told panapress on his return from Zurich, Switzerland, where he held talks with FIFA President Sepp Blatter and Secretary General Jerome Valcke. An upbeat De Klerk, one of the three Nobel Laureates who were present in Zurich in May 2006 when FIFA awarded South Africa the hosting rights, said the talks focused on the impact that the World Cup was likely to have on promoting national unity. The heavyweight delegation that attended the 2006 event also included former President Nelson Mandela and Archbishop Desmond Tutu. De Klerk’s return trip came as South Africa prepares for its role as the host of the biggest football event on the planet. South Africa’s last white President also downplayed the current concerns over 2010 World Cup preparations. “There are always anxieties regarding arrangements for global sporting events like the World Cup. Just think of all the questions that were asked regarding preparations for the Athens Olympics – which turned out to be a great success. ”I have the fullest confidence that South Africa will be able to hold a very successful World Cup and I do not hesitate to reassure our friends overseas of this,” De Klerk said. He said the biggest challenge facing South Africa was implementing “the very good plans that we have already formulated.” De Klerk expressed the belief the tournament had the potential to mend some of the rifts which, he said, were clearly still evident in South Africa “and will also introduce the world to the many attractions of our wonderful country”.

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