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Blatter presents Mandela with World Cup trophy replica

SoccerNews in World Cup 16 Sep 2008

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Former South African president Nelson Mandela was hailed as the 'architect' behind his country's hosting of the 2010 World Cup finals here on Tuesday as FIFA president Sepp Blatter presented him with a replica of the World Cup trophy.

The Swiss football supremo said that without Mandela's stature it would have been unlikely South Africa would have become the first African country to win the right to host the finals.

“You (Mandela) are the true architect of this FIFA World Cup; your presence and commitment made it happen,” said Blatter.

“Now the first African FIFA World Cup is a reality and the FIFA Confederations Cup South Africa 2009 – the dress rehearsal – will already take place in less than ten months' time,” added Blatter, who had hoped to see South Africa host the 2006 edition only to see Germany edge the vote.

Blatter will finish his four day visit on Wednesday in which he has been inspecting the stadia that will host the matches.

Despite prior misgivings about the progress of the work at the five new grounds – which are costing 9.8 billion rand (800 million euros – he expressed his conviction that the 2010 FIFA World Cup would be a 'magnificent event'.

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