South Africa marked 10 years since the 2010 World Cup kicked off on Thursday with a flood of memories and an insistence that the tournament legacy remains strong – even if Africa’s teams have underperformed since.
It was on June 11, 2010 that the World Cup kicked off at Soccer City in Johannesburg with the host nation taking on Mexico in a highly-charged game that was hailed as a momentous breakthrough for Africa – hosting one of the world’s two largest sporting gatherings for the first time.
“We had to overcome incredible pessimism to host the tournament, there was a strong sentiment that Africa did not have the capacity and that it couldn’t be trusted,” recalls South African FA (Safa) president Danny Jordaan, who was then CEO of the local organising committee.
“We were under so much pressure to deal with the world’s negativity.”
The local sense of accomplishment was heightened early in the second half when Siphiwe Tshabalala hammered home a left foot rocket to give South Africa the lead in what has become a goal for the ages.