LONDON Nov 9 Winning the right to stage next
year's World Cup may have been a bigger moment for South Africa
even than the end of apartheid, according to the chief organiser
of the soccer extravaganza.
Danny Jordaan told Reuters in an interview that when the
envelope was opened in 2004 granting South Africa the 2010
event, "I think it was almost a second liberation for us, it was
huge moment of joy... the second affirmation of the worth of our
He added: "For me, to think back on special moments in our
history: the day that Nelson Mandela walked out of prison, the
day that we voted for the first time in 1994 -- the beginning of
democracy in our country -- this day (winning the World Cup)
stands equal if not ahead as an experience and a significant
development in the history of our country."
White rule ended in 1994 when South Africans elected Nelson
Mandela as president in the country's first multi-racial vote.
Jordaan said in the Sunday interview that his primary
emotion before the decision in Zurich was fear that South Africa
would fail to win the event, as it did narrowly for the 2006
World Cup, which was awarded to Germany.
He said such a blow would have hurt the whole of Africa.
"Fear that defeat again will destroy any belief in our
country that we should make a bid not just for the World Cup but
for any other major event, and secondly that the doubt on the
continent would be strengthened, certainly from the Southern
African point of view."
Jordaan, who has said the World Cup may have a major impact
in bringing the races together in nationalist fervour in South
Africa, said that the importance of winning such a huge event --
the most watched sports spectacle on earth -- could only be
understood in the context of South African history.
"You must understand the background that it comes from. From
a country where the majority of people were told over three
hundred years you are less, simply because of the colour of your
skin. All those issues welled up on us."
(Editing by Justin Palmer
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