Johannesburg- South Africa (PANA) -- The day after Spain won its maiden World Cup (12 July, 2010), Football elites held their post-2010 FIFA World Cup media conf e rence at which FIFA President Joseph S.
Blatter paid homage to the former South A frican president, Nelson Mandela.
Joining Blatter at the event, held at the Sandton Convention Centre in Johannesb urg, was FIFA World Cup Chairman and FIFA vice-president Issa Hayatou, South Afr i ca 2010 Local Organising Committee (LOC) Chairman Irvin Khoza, LOC CEO Danny Jor d aan and FIFA Secretary General Jerome Valcke.
Blatter said "This World Cup had a special momentum, linked with a history of fr eedom and the history of one man.
This man is still living, at the age of 92 and this is a man who has suffered so much.
But despite this, upon his release from p rison, he spoke of peace and understanding.
I met him for the first time in 1992 and he had a dream â" to bring the World Cup to his country.
"The dream came true in May 2004 when South Africa were awarded the 2010 FIFA Wo rld Cup.
He brought the World Cup to South Africa.
He wanted to attend the tourn a ment â" and last night he fulfilled that ambition.
So, I must pay a homage to th e greatest living humanist â" Nelson â~Madibaâ? Mandela.
" After a video displaying the iconic images of the 2010 FIFA World Cup set to an African beat was displayed on the giant screen, Blatter also paid a huge complim e nt to South Africa, its people and government, which he said gave the guarantees needed to stage the FIFA World Cup.
Thanking the LOC, especially Irvin Khoza and Danny Jordaan, as well as all of th eir workers, volunteers, security staff, hospitality workers, Blatter said "I al s o have to pay a big compliment to Africa.
They proved that they could organize t h e FIFA World Cup and a massive competition.
On the level of football, he said, "As a fan and a spectator, I thought we saw s ome good matches and some not so good matches, but it was always entertaining.
W e have to remember that in terms of football, perfection does not exist.
But what we did learn from this World Cup was that there are no more small national teams .
Football has developed everywhere and weâ?ve learned that internationalism has been good for some national teams and not so good for others.
It was also good t o see that three of the youngest teams: Ghana, Germany and Spain doing so well â" it shows that our young players are making headway.
" On the level of organisation, he said "After the Confederations Cup, I gave Sout h Africa a 7.
5 out of 10, but now â" after a successful Final Draw and this tour nament â" I would give a 9, which in a University would earn the highest honours .
Speaking on officiating at the championship, Blatter said "Overall we saw an imp rovement in terms of Fair Play at this tournament, but the Final caused this lev e l to drop slightly.
The referee and his trio had a very hard task during this ga m e and he was not helped.
I always say that football is a school of life, based o n discipline and respect.
You learn to win, which is easy, but when you lose â" y ou must lose with discipline and respect.
Also speaking at the press conference, FIFA vice-president Issa Hayatou said "I was so impressed by the willingness of South Africans to show the world their na t ion, regardless of their social status.
Everyone mobilized to make this event a g reat success, even when South Africa were knocked out of the tournament.
South Africa 2010 LOC Chairman Irvin Khoza -- This tournament provided many grea t memories.
One which stood out was Archbishop Desmond Tutu dancing at the Openi n g Match â" and the last time Iâ?d seen him dancing was back in 1994 during the first time he voted.
But the crowning experience was â~Madibaâ?sâ? appearance in Soccer City.
His struggle was not in vein.
This World Cup has made a statemen t .
South Africa has never been so united.
LOC CEO Danny Jordaan - The Opening Match was an incredible moment and gave me a n incredible feeling.
A dream came true on 11 June.
I have to thank President Bl a tter for making the dream come true, as he showed great commitment, courage and v ision to bring the FIFA World Cup to Africa.
And in FIFA we found a synergy.
We s hared a common vision and they understood the heartbeat of our country.