Fifa Gives South Africa top marks in World Cup

FIFA gives SA top marks for World Cup??FIFA President Sepp Blatter on Monday gave South Africa his highest possible mark for a World Cup that defied sceptics who had predicted disaster. Blatter said he would give a mark of nine out of 10 which was the maximum possible. “Perfection does not exist in our life,” he told a news conference.

Last year, when FIFA still had concerns over South African organisation of the vast logistical operation, Blatter had given a mark of 7.5, saying it was below what was required.

“Africa has proven that really they can organise this World Cup…they can be proud,” Blatter said, adding that the tournament had changed perceptions of the continent. Years of negative reporting had predicted chaos and major criminal incidents.

South Africa’s 40-billion-rand ($5.29-billion) spending on the World Cup, which ended with Spain’s victory over Netherlands on Sunday, would bring increased tourism, trade and investment, President Jacob Zuma said on Monday.

He said it would create the revenue to address myriad social problems including widespread poverty and an HIV pandemic. Blatter, like other senior international soccer officials at the news conference, paid tribute to the way South Africans had continued to attend matches despite being the first host nation to be knocked out at the group stage.

More than 3.1 million people attended the 64 games, the third highest figure behind the United States in 1994 and Germany in 2006.

Record audiences
Some six million people watched the games in public viewing areas around the world.

FIFA said the average television audience in Spain for the final was a record 15.6 million, or nearly 80 percent of market share, while in the Netherlands it was more than 90 percent. Spain won the trophy for the first time after beating the Dutch by a late goal.

Irvin Khoza, chairman of the local organising committee, said the World Cup had brought together an often troubled nation. “Never in our history have we seen South Africans so united,” he said. Danny Jordaan, the chief local architect of the World Cup, compared it to the release of Nelson Mandela from prison in 1990 and the first democratic elections in 1994.

He said the tournament “was an incredible moment, a dream has come true…we are very, very happy and very proud to be Africans and South Africans.”

Mandela, in frail health at the age of 91, capped national pride in a successful tournament by touring the pitch in a golf buggy just before Sunday’s final. Mandela’s charisma is widely credited with helping South Africa to win the World Cup bid at its second try in 2006.

Jordaan said Mandela was the biggest personality of the tournament.

He added, tongue-in-cheek, that the two others were the vuvuzela trumpet hated by millions of television viewers for its raucous drone but now popular with fans around the world, and Paul the oracle octopus in Germany which correctly picked the winners in eight out of eight matches.

Sourced by SA – The Good News via Reuters

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