Address by the Deputy Minister of Sport and Recreation, Mr GC Oosthuizen on the occasion of the Launch of South Africa’s FIFA Confederations Cup 2009 Campaign in Milan, Italy, 26 March 2009
Dr Alan Rizzi, Member of the Executive Council of the City of Milan for Sport
President of the Italian Football Federation, Dr Carlo Abete
Dr Danny Jordaan CEO of the 2010 FIFA World Cup Organising Committee
Esteemed International Players
Members of the Media
It is my honour and pleasure to join you this morning from sunny South Africa for the launch of the Italian leg of our FIFA Confederations Cup 2009 Campaign.
After years of hard work by the Organising Committee, the host cities and our government we can finally say that we are ready to play host to the Champions of the FIFA Confederations and the World Champions. Over the next two months we will be putting the final touches to our preparations for the tournament, which kicks off on the 14th June in Johannesburg. The Confederations Cup is the perfect dress rehearsal for the 2010 FIFA World Cup and we will give your team and supporters a taste of what is to come in 2010. We are looking forward to a festival of football, played by some of the best players in the world.
It will, of course, be very special for us to have your team, Italy, the current World Champions in our country. To have been crowned Champions of the World in Germany in 2006 was a great achievement for your country and your people. Our football-loving people are looking forward with excitement and passion to see your team perform well on African soil. You can be assured of a warm reception and great support from the South African public.
Our government has, since the first bid to host the World Cup, given its unequivocal support for the project. Over the last few years government has invested generously in the construction and upgrading of stadia, in transport infrastructure, telecommunications, safety and security and in the beautification of or cities. The private sector has built hotels and improved the hospitality offerings. Many ordinary South Africans have expanded their homes with the wish to play host to some of the many visitors we expect. We have done this to ensure that we host a world-class African tournament and that the many supporters leave our shores with memories of an unforgettable African adventure.
You will shortly experience that South Africa is one of the most diverse and enchanting countries in the world. Exotic combinations of landscapes, people, history and culture will offer your team and supporters a unique and inspiring experience.
We invite you to experience our wildlife parks, our beautiful natural scenery, our world-class infrastructure and above all our diverse South African cultural life, which will make your stay like no other in the world. It will be a truly unique experience.
On behalf of the Government and the people of South Africa I want to assure you that we look forward to welcome your team and supports to our country for the first FIFA Confederations Cup on the African continent.
SOUTH AFRICA IS READY!
Issued by Department of Foreign Affairs
26 March 2009.