By FOCUS REPORTER
A meeting of influential African football leaders to discuss the legacy of the 2010.
FIFA World Cup for the African continent ended today with a strong declaration of
support for the re-election of FIFA President Joseph S. Blatter at the upcoming FIFA
Congress June 1.
The meeting in Johannesburg, South Africa, was initially called by the Council of
Southern African Football Associations (COSAFA), was attended by 37 Federations
affiliated to the Confederation of African Football (CAF), including the Presidents of
29 Associations, eight Vice-Presidents and the Secretary-Generals of four CAF
Among the attendees were the President of COSAFA Suketu Patel, the President of
the Council of East and Central African Football Associations (CECAFA) Leodegar
Tenga, the President of the Union des Federations de Football d’Afrique Centrale
(UNIFAC) Mahomed Iya, the Secretary-General of the West African Football Union
(WAFU) Aka Malan and the President of the South African Football Association
(SAFA) Kirsten Nematandani.
At a press conference after the meeting, Mr Iya on behalf of all the meeting’s
attendees, read a declaration indicating the group’s strong support for the re-election
of FIFA President Joseph Blatter for another term as President of FIFA at the FIFA
Congress in Zurich.
“The National Associations from various regions in Africa, namely COSAFA,
CECAFA, UNIFAC and WAFU, gathered in Johannesburg on 21 May 2011 on the
occasion of the meeting on the ‘Legacy of the 2010 FIFA World Cup for the African
continent’, declare our support for the re-election of Mr Joseph Blatter to serve a
further term in office from 1 June 2011” was the simple, but strong declaration read
out by Mr Iya at a press briefing today.
The African football leaders spoke emotively today about the powerful impact the
success of the 2010 FIFA World Cup, in which President Blatter played an influential
role, had for the legacy of football on the African continent.
“After the success of the 2010 FIFA World Cup we as Africans felt pride, dignity and
hope. Before the World Cup, Africans were always seen as second-class, people
who were asking rather than giving. But all that has now changed. We’re very
satisfied with the turn-out and participation of today’s meeting, which can only be
good for the future of African football,” said Mr Patel.
“Africa and African football will never be the same again after the 2010 FIFA World
Cup. Its success has affirmed our belief that we have what it takes to deliver. We
now feel powerful, strong and more courageous to overcome our challenges,” said
President Blatter said: “The significance of our meeting with some of the national
associations today was to define what this legacy of hosting the 2010 FIFA World
Cup meant for Africa and ensure that we carry on with our work. It’s often touching to
hear stories of people in South Africa and Africa on how the hosting of the
tournament impacted on their lives.”
2010 FIFA World Cup Organising Committee CEO Danny Jordaan said the
gathering was a significant moment towards safeguarding and sustaining the legacy
of the World Cup for Africa.
“It’s important that as Africans, we speak with one voice as we build on the
momentum created by the hosting of the tournament last year. This meeting was a
positive step towards achieving that goal. We believe that the 2010 World Cup will
provide many valuable lessons to future hosts more especially the next in line,