South Africa’s 2010 Fifa World Cup™ put to rest, once and for all, the idea that Africa is incapable of hosting world-class events of this magnitude. Fifa gave the country a near-perfect 9 out of 10 for the show it put on – here are just some of the reasons why:Take a bow, South Africa!John Carlin, author of Playing the Enemy, says all the stories about the 2010 Fifa World Cup being the 1995 rugby World Cup all over again, about healing racial wounds, uniting the fractured nation and so forth, were off the mark. “It was much, much better than that.” SA’s World Cup ‘near-perfect’: FifaAs Fifa president Sepp Blatter gave South Africa a near-perfect 9 out of 10 for its hosting of the 2010 Fifa World Cup, analysts said the spin-offs of improved perceptions abroad could have a long-lasting impact not only on South Africa and its development but on the continent as a whole. 2010 ‘one of our greatest achievements’The 2010 Fifa World Cup was one of the greatest achievements of post-apartheid South Africa, President Jacob Zuma said at the national Heritage Day celebrations at Durban’s Moses Mabhida Stadium. World Cup surveys highlight successThe successful hosting of the 2010 Fifa World Cup has done wonders for South Africans’ national confidence and the country’s image abroad, according to pre- and post-tournament surveys commissioned by Fifa. International awards for SA stadiumSouth Africa’s FNB Stadium, previously known as Soccer City, was a major hit with the fans during the 2010 Fifa World Cup. It’s also been racking up the design and construction awards, most recently being named the overall winner at the prestigious international Leaf Awards. South African ‘can-do’ wins againA novel beer vessel introduced in South Africa during the 2010 Fifa World Cup has been named Can of the Year 2010 by The Canmaker magazine, which reports on innovations in the metal-packaging industry. Bafana, Tshabalala do SA proud2010 was a good year for Bafana Bafana, and it ended on a high, with news that South Africa was up to 50th in football’s latest world rankings, and that Siphiwe Tshabalala’s blistering opening goal of the 2010 World Cup was among 10 nominees for Fifa’s goal of the year. Pride for Africa as Spain strike goldOnly 12 kilometres separate Spain from Africa at their closest point, and they were united in celebration at the finish of a 19th Fifa World Cup that sent a fault line of happiness stretching all the way from Bloemfontein to Barcelona. South Africans the ‘true stars’: ZumaThe people of South Africa were the “true stars” of the 2010 Fifa World Cup, uniting to prove to the world that the country and the continent was capable of hosting a world-class event, says President Jacob Zuma. South Africa’s World Cup wins heartsThe aftermath of hosting what has been hailed by one and all as a successful 2010 Fifa World Cup will no doubt leave South Africans with a massive hangover. However, the tournament has given them a new sense of pride, confidence and optimism, and opened a new chapter not only for the hosts but for the African continent. World Cup: Cape Town takes a bowAs Cape Town played host to the semi-final clash between the Netherlands and Uruguay on Tuesday night, the city bid farewell to its 2010 Fifa World Cup journey. For the city residents, it has been a memorable month that will live with them long after the tournament. Durban a hit with World Cup fansSouth Africa’s “Surf City” was the place to be on Friday as fans streamed in by the thousands for one of the most anticipated matches of the 2010 Fifa World Cup group stages, Brazil versus Portugal. While the match itself did not live up to the hype, the city of Durban certainly did. SA the ‘plan B’ of future World Cups“There is not a single part of this World Cup where we have not been able to go beyond the level of past World Cups,” Fifa secretary-general Jerome Valcke said at the halfway mark of the 2010 Fifa World Cup. “South Africa will become the ‘plan B’ of any future World Cup.” South Africa’s 2010 tourism harvestSouth Africa is set to reap lasting tourism rewards from the 2010 Fifa World Cup, with visitors pouring into the country in numbers, from new as well as traditional markets, and responding to the country’s offerings – and the energy and warmth of its people – with surprise and delight. Special courts key to World Cup successOne of the great successes of the 2010 World Cup – and there have been many – is how the special courts set up for the tournament have succeeded in dealing with the criminal activity that is part-and-parcel of hosting an event of this magnitude. World Cup so far ‘a success story’As the 2010 Fifa World Cup approaches the half-way mark, initial glitches have been ironed out and the competition is progressing magnificently, says Local Organising Committee CEO Danny Jordaan, adding that interest will only increase as the tournament progresses. Volunteers: World Cup’s unsung heroesWhile the on-field action draws the crowds, it is the thousands of hard-working volunteers busy in the background, making sure that each match runs with operational precision and professionalism, that should also be awarded a trophy. African welcome wins players’ heartsWhatever their fortunes on the pitch, players from the competing nations at the 2010 Fifa World Cup are enjoying the experience off it. The temperatures might be low, but the visiting teams are feeling the warmth of the African spirit. Huge crowds at World Cup fan festsFifa Fan Fests, organised at 16 venues around the world, played host to more than a million supporters during the first six days of the biggest sporting party in the world – with maximum capacity reached in almost every venue each time the respective national team played. Cup visitors enchanted by South AfricaThe world’s attention is focused on the southern tip of Africa as the greatest football showpiece plays itself out on the fields and in the streets of South Africa. But once the final whistle has blown on 11 July, it seems as though a lot of happy fans will be coming back to the country. Record SA audience for opening matchThe opening match of the 2010 Fifa World Cup between hosts South Africa and Mexico drew a record South African TV audience. The tournament is also getting good viewership ratings in North and South America, Europe and China. Soccer City one of world’s best: BlatterThe majestic Soccer City Stadium, venue for both the opening and final match of the 2010 Fifa World Cup, has won rave reviews from Fifa president Sepp Blatter, who described it as “a five-star stadium” and one of the most beautiful in the world. South Africa’s ‘quantum’ football stadiumThe Moses Mabhida Stadium, Durban’s spectacular 2010 Fifa World Cup venue, has scored not only an engineering first for an African stadium with its majestic arch. It has also become the world’s first “quantum” stadium. 2010 stadiums: mission accomplishedAfter six years of sustained hard work and intense global scrutiny of their ability to deliver, South Africa’s nine host cities have produced 10 World Cup stadiums – matching and exceeding international standards – which will soon be known to television viewers the world over.