‘Zuma won’t affect 2010’

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JOHANNESBURG — The Local Organising Committee (LOC) for the 2010 World Cup in South Africa has assured the world that the country’s new government will not affect preparations for the event.

Controversial politician Jacob Zuma will be inaugurated as the country’s new president this weekend after leading his African National Congress to victory in last month’s general elections.

LOC chief executive officer Danny Jordaan told the media last week that the coming in of Zuma did not automatically signal a change of policy by the South African government.

He said next month’s Confederations Cup and the 2010 World Cup will therefore not be affected even if government policy was to change.

“It is still the same government and there will probably be no change of policy in the Zuma era,” Jordaan told journalists at the FIFA Southern Africa Media Day in Johannesburg last week.

“The World Cup 2010 will go as planned without any disturbance (even if there is a) change of policy.”

Jordaan said the major challenge was on the field of play.

He said African countries faced a big challenge to make it to the semi-finals of the World Cup.

“If African teams cannot reach the semi-final stage, then it would be irrelevant to call this an African World Cup tourney,” he said.

“We must do an introspection to make sure that we benefit from this 2010 (World Cup).

“A much better African performance is the main challenge now.”

Jordan said a southern Africa legacy committee had been established to ensure the region benefits from the football extravaganza.

“We have established a legacy committee to make sure that African countries are actually benefiting from the World Cup,” he said.

“Namibia and Lesotho (football association) presidents are members of the committee.”

FIFA’s developing officer in southern Africa, Ashford Mamelodi, told the journalists that African countries had already started benefiting from the “Win in Africa with Africa” project.

The project is one of FIFA’s development programmes aimed at ensuring that the 2010 World Cup leaves Africa a legacy.

“About 38 countries have already benefited from this project through the installation of artificial turfs,” said Mamelodi.

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