Speech by Gauteng Premier Nomvula Mokonyane at the mass prayer service, OR Tambo International Airport
23 May 2010
Reverend Gift Moerane
Revered religious leaders
CEO of the Airports Company, Monhla Hlahla
South Africa is ready for the start of world’s biggest and most supported sporting event. We have done everything necessary to ensure that this World Cup the first ever to be staged on the African continent becomes the best ever and most exciting. We are now waiting to receive the teams and the multitudes of fans expected to arrive anytime from now.
Yesterday thousands of football fans witnessed the reopening of Soccer City, South Africa’s premier football stadium which will host both the opening and final matches of the World Cup. If there were still any doubts about our capacity and capability to host a successful World Cup such doubts have now been completely removed.
As South Africans we have never had any doubt that we would host the most successful and exciting football World Cup. It was this self belief and confidence which inspired our decision to bid for the hosting of the World Cup in the first instance.
When we lost the first bid we did not give up because we were convinced that Africa’s time had come to host the world’s biggest sporting event and that South Africa would be the stage for the event.
We knew that God had a plan for Africa and that in time He would give FIFA the wisdom to make the right decision and lead them to Africa. We got our inspiration from the words of the Lord Jesus which say, "With men it is impossible, but not with God; for with God all things are possible," Mark 10:27.
Indeed with God all things are possible. While there might have been people who were sceptical about our chances, with God it was always possible that South Africa would host a successful FIFA World Cup. Today we are here at the OR Tambo International Airport to thank God for having answered our prayers to ensure that the world comes to us so that the whole world could celebrate Africa’s humanity. As we are about to receive our guests we also ask God to bless FIFA, the World Cup and all those who will be taking part in it.
As we are gathered at this Airport we recall with a great sense of sadness the tragic accident involving Afriqiyah Airways flight 8U771 on 12 May 2010 which had earlier departed from here on route to Tripoli.
We express our sincerest condolences to the relatives and friends of all the passengers who died in that crash. We pray especially for the relatives and friends of the South African passengers who died in the crash. We also express our condolences to families and friends of other air crashes including those who lost their loved ones in an Air India
Express jet which crashed yesterday.
We ask God to protect all those who will be travelling to the World Cup and all other people who travel by air all over the world. We ask God to guide all staff members at this airport and other South African airports so that they can ensure the safe take-off and landing of all aircraft that they handle.
For us as South Africans a successful World Cup also means success for our national team on the playing field. Recent history of the FIFA
World Cup shows that host teams tend to perform extremely well in the tournament. Many people have written off Bafana Bafana and some even say we will be extremely lucky to reach the second round of the World Cup. I am sure none of us here agree with them.
I think Bafana Bafana will prove all the sceptics wrong and make us all proud by proceeding to the next round of the World Cup. As Jesus said, "With men it is impossible, but not with God; for with God all things are possible." Indeed it is possible for Bafana Bafana to do well in the World Cup. They may even go all the way to the final and win.
God has a plan for Bafana Bafana. All we need to do is ask Him to give them strength and courage to face the toughest of their opponents. As the gospel says, "Ask and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you" (Matt. 7:7) our message of encouragement to Bafana Bafana is: Be strong; have courage; do not be afraid.
This message must ring in the minds of every member of the team from now until the last day of the World Cup. Be strong; have courage; do not be afraid.
Lastly, let us all pray God to give all South Africans the wisdom to be good hosts so that we can all do our part to ensure that our guests have a memorable and enjoyable stay in our country during the World Cup.
Issued by: Office of the Premier, Gauteng Provincial Government
23 May 2010
Issued by: Gauteng Provincial Government
23 May 2010
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