FIFA president Sepp Blatter gave South Africa a 7.5 out of ten for its hosting of the Confederations Cup adding he hoped that mark would rise to a perfect ten by next year’s World Cup.
“If you get a five mark you have to repeat class, a six and you go to middle school,” Blatter told a post-Confed Cup press conference.
“South Africa are definitely in college and on their way to university. They’re just missing half a point which they may pick up by the time of the World Cup draw in December.
“I want to give you a ten by the World Cup and then you are in masters.”
Blatter identified transport and accommodation as areas that needed improvement before 450,000 fans descend on the country for the 2010 World Cup.
“One item in question beforehand was security but the organising committee headed by Danny Jordaan have done a very good job – the hospitality and reception by the (local) population has been really remarkable.
“So I am satisfied with the way the competition went but there are still challenges which will have to be dealt with in terms of transport and accommodation.
“Next year there will be 450,000 fans for the World Cup and they need to get to and from matches and back to where they are staying. Camps are not really an option as it will be winter here.”
On the pitch Blatter said he had been impressed with the level of play climaxing with an exciting final day’s action which saw Spain overcome hosts South Africa 3-2 in the third place play-off and Brazil beating the United States by the same scoreline in the final.
“We have seen good football, specifically on the last day when the third place play-off and final produced very attractive and passionate football.
“This shows the teams enjoyed playing in the ambiance of Africa. The football was faster too as the games were played at altitude with less air resistance.”
He had little time for those like Brazil who had complained of playing matches in the chill winter evenings.
“We’ve seen that football can be played here, even if it’s a little bit cold.
“Most Brazilians play in Europe with sub zero temperatures, it’s never been below zero here and don’t forget they ended up the winners. Why are they afraid of the cold, you run faster!”
He praised the performance of the South Africa team in going so far in the competition, suggesting Bafana Bafana’s progress augured well for 2010.
“South Africa have improved, they have good qualities, technically they are brilliant, they are very athletic.
“They run and run and run, they are well prepared physically, they’re not tall, what they need now is to bring all these qualities into a tactic that goes for goal.
“South Africa President Jacob Zuma said to me yesterday ‘if we are in the same position next year I will be the happiest man around’.”
In conclusion he said: “I am happy with what we and Danny Jordaan’s organising committee have realised and we’re looking forward to an exciting World Cup next year.”
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