The month is July 2010. The final countdown has begun and there’s no turning back now. In a year’s time, the kick-off match of the 2010 FIFA World Cup hosted by an African nation would be played at the 94,000-seat spectacular stadium on the outskirts of Soweto in Johannesburg, South Africa.

The country would not have enjoyed such a moment at the world stage since the transition from apartheid to multiracial democracy in 1994. Newly elected President Jacob Zuma who used to play football as a prisoner under apartheid declared: “We have made it.

There is no longer any doubt that we will meet all the deadlines,” as he set the countdown clock ticking. Irrespective of which country finally lifts the trophy, the true winners of the 19th World Cup, the biggest sporting event on earth, being hosted for the first time in Africa, will be the South Africans.

AUTHOR: Bunmi Akpata-Ohohe
DATED: 30th June 2009