Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

DEBATE

Europe's Plan for Putin - Will Russian Leader Bend After New Sanctions? (part 2)

Read more

DEBATE

Europe's Plan for Putin - Will Russian Leader Bend After New Sanctions?

Read more

FOCUS

Pakistan's Ahmadis living in fear of extremist attacks

Read more

WEB NEWS

Web users show solidarity with Iraqi Christians

Read more

THE INTERVIEW

Gilles Kepel, Islamic and Arab world specialist

Read more

BUSINESS DAILY

Argentina braced for another debt default

Read more

DEBATE

Too Late for Sanctions? Pressure Mounts on Russia over Ukraine (part 2)

Read more

DEBATE

Too Late for Sanctions? Pressure Mounts on Russia over Ukraine

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

'What would you do?'

Read more

  • US and EU slap Russia with fresh sanctions over Ukraine

    Read more

  • Scores killed as Israel ramps up Gaza bombardment

    Read more

  • Graphic: Ebola spreads across West Africa

    Read more

  • In pictures: ن - a sign of support for Iraq’s persecuted Christians

    Read more

  • Calls mount to ban France’s ‘violent’ Jewish Defence League

    Read more

  • Venezuela: Hugo Chavez’s ‘little bird’ strikes again

    Read more

  • France extradites suspected Jewish Museum shooter to Belgium

    Read more

  • Video: How tourism is helping Rwanda’s gorillas, ex-poachers

    Read more

  • Rare Sri Lankan leopard cubs born in French zoo

    Read more

  • France evacuates its nationals from Libya

    Read more

  • US says Russia violated arms treaty by testing cruise missile

    Read more

  • Argentina in last-ditch effort to avert default

    Read more

  • Karzai’s cousin killed in Afghan suicide attack

    Read more

  • Libya oil tanker fire blazes out of control

    Read more

  • In pictures: From Gaza to Mosul, bittersweet end of Ramadan for Muslims

    Read more

  • Moroccan police arrest French al Qaeda recruiter

    Read more

Zuma kicks off countdown to 2010 World Cup

Video by glady

Text by NEWS WIRES

Latest update : 2009-06-12

South African President Jacob Zuma, who once played football while imprisoned under the Apartheid regime, kicked a ball into a crowd of construction workers at Green Point stadium to start the one-year countdown to June 11, 2010 World Cup.

REUTERS - South African President Jacob Zuma, who once played soccer as an apartheid prisoner, on Thursday started the one-year countdown to the 2010 World Cup and said its success would confound sceptics.

 

Zuma who both played and refereed football at the notorious Robben Island prison where Nelson Mandela was incarcerated for two decades, kicked a ball into a crowd of construction workers at Green Point stadium to start the countdown to June 11, 2010.

 

"When we got it, people said you can't do it," said Zuma, referring to earlier widespread doubts that his country could pull off Africa's first World Cup.

 

"We have been travelling up and down and arguing all the time to proof the point that we'll make. We've made it," said Zuma, inaugurated as president only last month.

 

The brand new Cape Town stadium, still under construction, is one of 10 World Cup venues. Officials say all of them will be finished by December and the widespread earlier fears that South Africa would not be ready are now mostly muted.

 

Jerome Valcke, secretary-general of football's governing body FIFA, agreed South Africa was on track to host a successful tournament, despite concerns over the impact of the global recession and the country's fearsome record for violent crime, one of the worst in the world. .

 

He said it was now up to South Africa, which will deploy 41,000 police officers to protect fans and players, to meet the needs of foreign visitors.

 

"Security is an issue all around the world. I think... the World Cup in South Africa will be a great World Cup," Valcke told reporters at the stadium, as the sounds of a vuvuzela, a local trumpet used by football fans and one of the symbols of 2010, blasted out.

 

Organisers hope a boom in infrastructure spending for the competition and millions of dollars from foreign fans will help Africa's biggest economy dig out of its first recession in 17 years.

 

Date created : 2009-06-11

COMMENT(S)