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Published: 19 Sep 2006
|Ndebele: FIFA Beach Soccer African Zone Qualifier (19/09/2006)|
Source: KwaZulu-Natal Provincial Government
Title: Ndebele: FIFA Beach Soccer African Zone Qualifier
Federation International Football Association (FIFA) Beach Soccer African Zone qualifier, 26 - 30 September 2006 New Beach, Durban, KwaZulu-Natal
Speech for the honourable Premier Sibusiso Ndebele
Protocol is observed.
Welcome to the city where the fun never sets. And welcome to the sporting province of KwaZulu-Natal. We are indeed proud to welcome Fluvio Danilas, Head of Event Operations for FIFA and General Manager of Beach Soccer World Wide. On the 28 September we will be welcoming Joan Cusco Carbo, Joint Managing Director and Board Member of FIFA, and Executive Vice-President of Beach Soccer World Wide. To all players from Egypt, Ivory Coast, Morocco, Cameroon, Nigeria and South Africa, welcome to the city of Durban and the Province of KwaZulu-Natal.
To host the FIFA Beach Soccer African Zone Qualifier is a coup for the Province of KwaZulu-Natal. Soccer is in the blood of the people of KwaZulu-Natal and in fact we are not shy about it. We are a soccer province and one that is fast becoming known for the energy that we are putting towards building this province and its youngsters into a community of vibrant, energetic, competitive and skilful players.
KZN welcomes beach soccer
The launch of Beach Soccer in our Province is a landmark achievement and one that we can be proud of. The people of KwaZulu-Natal have always supported soccer and we are optimistic that they will support this new brand of soccer. Beach Soccer is a fast developing sport which, with FIFA support, has made representation to the International Olympic Committee (IOC) for inclusion in the 2008 Olympics. The province has committed resources towards staging this, the first tournament of its kind in the Southern Hemisphere. By successfully staging this African Zone Qualifier tournament, we as a city and province will be in a better position to secure the 2009 FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup.
Our country is at the forefront of making us the continent's favourite sport capital. At a recent national sports conference, our government put on the table our desire to create an "African World Cup". This will prompt us to elevate the agenda of sport through New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD), to retain African talent in Africa, to give capacity to our coaches and technical officials.
In four years' time, South Africa will host the biggest and most spectacular sporting event in the world ? the 2010 Soccer World Cup. This is a landmark event for South Africa, as it is the first on African soil. We are guided by the principles that this event will build a legacy in the province, build a tourism base and ensure sustainability of investment post the event.
South Africa has staged more successful high-profile international events in the 12 years since apartheid ended than many developed nations. South Africa hosted the 1995 Rugby World Cup, African Cup of Nations in 1996 and the 2003 Cricket World Cup.
Come 2010, South Africa will be able to provide the sporting tournament with an unprecedented platform. A gleaming landscape of outstanding stadia, infrastructure, human skills, commercial and a legislative framework tailored for staging major events ? will be primed for FIFA World Cup in 2010.
We are building a world class 70 000-seater stadium for the upcoming 2010 World Cup, and more importantly for our children for generations to come. This stadium forms part of the sporting precinct in Durban, an indication of how serious we are about promoting all codes of sport in our province and cities.
A welcoming province
You will find, as you enjoy the sights and sounds of Durban and indeed the Province of KwaZulu-Natal that ours is a province that people from all corners of the globe call home. The players and extended fan base of the FIFA Beach Soccer African Zone Qualifier come to Durban at a good time of the year, the beautiful weather, as we are enjoying today is standard in this city.
Our people are friendly, the hotels are on par with the best in the world and our infrastructure and transport logistics will ensure that fans can enjoy the tourism gems of KwaZulu-Natal. This province is home to two world heritage sites in the Drakensberg Mountains and the St Lucia Wetlands. I invite you to take this opportunity to experience them both.
For those of you who enjoy the beach ? well I suppose you all do, considering the nature of the tournament ? our coastline is home to several Blue Flag beaches. This will ensure your time in the water is enjoyable and safe.
This is a spectacular, high energy, dynamic barefoot 'new lifestyle' sport which enjoys significant synergies with the province and city's vision of making Durban Africa's premier sports and recreation destination, as well as in respect of City initiatives to revitalise its beaches and create space for events, all of which form part of the City and Province's 2010 and Beyond Strategy.
While we are enthusiastic and excited about the economic boom we are experiencing because of the strides we are making in sport development, we are mindful of the social upliftment responsibility towards our communities. This government at both local and provincial levels is fully committed to ensuring that our communities all benefit from any programmes and events that are brought to our province. Recent statistics reveal that for every rand spent on sport and recreation, the health bill is lowered by R100. Increased physical activity has a positive impact on health and has a favourable effect on productivity levels.
We want to encourage our children to live healthy lives and want to engage our youth in sport so that their boundless energy is channelled in a positive direction. This healthy mindset and lifestyle is going to build a healthy nation and a stronger economy. It will also yield an improvement in the moral regeneration of our society. In that way, crime, abuse against women and children, and other such ills will be tackled.
This tournament is indicative of the talent that the continent of Africa boasts. To the players, may I encourage you to enjoy yourselves on the field, play fair and get used to the atmosphere of Durban and the climate. You are all invited to our shores again, when we host one of the semi-final matches for World Cup 2010.
I trust that we are in for three days of good soccer, with the players from around our continent ready and eager to show us why we all love the beautiful game. Issued by: KwaZulu-Natal Provincial Government
19 September 2006