JOHANNESBURG - The World Cup has inspired
Africans and could be a stepping stone toward the first Olympics
on the continent, South African President Jacob Zuma said.
In an interview with FIFA at his presidential residence in
Pretoria, Zuma said the successful tournament had sparked
economic development and proved the developing continent was
capable of managing a world event.
"I think we have proved that not only South Africa, but
Africa is capable of hosting any major event," Zuma was quoted
as saying on the governing body's website.
The government has spent about 40 billion rand ($5.17
billion) on infrastructure projects, and billions more on
upgrading roads and airports.
A successful hosting of this year's World Cup by South
Africa could spur a bid for the first African Olympics, Zuma
told Reuters last week.
"People are already talking about a possibility of bidding
for major events and we are supporting this. The Olympics are an
example, I don't see why we can't bid to host the Olympics in
the future. It's important for Africa," he told FIFA.
International Olympic Committee president Jacques Rogge last
week offered encouragement to Africa for an Olympic bid,
strengthening the possibility of South Africa being a host.
Cape Town was the first African city to bid for the Olympics
but was trounced in the vote for the 2004 Games that were
awarded to Athens.
Durban, which markets itself as Africa's sports capital, has
expressed an interest in hosting a future Games and built its
new World Cup stadium with enough space to add an athletics
When asked what legacy he wanted the World Cup to leave for
South Africa's children, Zuma told FIFA:
"It has taken the economic development to a different level.
One of the important things for Africa is education and
programmes like 1Goal (FIFA'S education programme) are playing a
vital role - that is legacy.
"This tournament has inspired Africans."
The South African President would not be drawn into
speculating who will win the World Cup when teh final takes
place on July 11 at Soccer City in Johannesburg.
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