JOHANNESBURG - South Africa bowed out of
the World Cup at the first round stage but President Jacob Zuma
said on Saturday the successful hosting of the tournament made
its people the champions.
Africa's economic giant is crowing over its successful
hosting of the world's biggest sporting tournament, defying
sceptics who had doubted it could organise the tournament,
including completing construction of stadiums on time.
"We extend a special thank you to South Africans for the
passion and excitement that has kept the tournament alive for
the past weeks. We thank you for putting the country first,"
Zuma said in a statement on Saturday.
"They are the stars and champions of this tournament," he
said on the eve of the World Cup final between Spain and the
Zuma's government has played down reports that despite an
outpouring of support for other teams from the continent, locals
have threatened to turn on poor African migrants competing for
scarce jobs in the continent's largest economy when the World
"The committed support given to Ghana and other African
teams displayed African unity, love and solidarity in practice,"
"We thank you for embracing one another and Africa. We thank
(you for) your opening up your country and your hearts to the
world in a most patriotic and memorable manner (and) for making
this a truly African World Cup."
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