Cape Town - Hours after South Africa said goodbye to Archbishop Desmond Tutu, the South African Football Association (Safa) president Danny Jordaan had cause to reflect on the bid to host the 2010 FIFA World Cup.
On Saturday, South Africa held a funeral to bid farewell to Archbishop Tutu, one of the symbols of the fight against the racist regime imposed for decades in that country. He died last Sunday at the age of 90.
He was a Nobel Peace Prize winner in 1984.
Jordaan recalled how the Archbishop was once called on to join the 2010 bid committee's presentation in the Caribean after President Nelson Mandela was unable to make the trip.
In a tribute to the late Archbishop, Jordaan issued a statement:
'South Africa said goodbye to the last great hero of the struggle against Apartheid.
'This weekend, South African football bid farewell to Archbishop Desmond Tutu. He was one of its biggest supporters and the self-deprecating “reserve Mandela”, who played a huge role in South Africa winning the right to host the 2010 FIFA World Cup.
'Archbishop Tutu always availed himself to fight for South Africa’s cause in hosting Africa’s first FIFA World Cup and was in Zurich in 2004 for South Africa’s final bid presentation to FIFA.
'After a slick, professional presentation, he jokingly said, pointing to the heavens that “there must be something wrong upstairs” if South Africa was not awarded the right to host the 2010 FIFA World Cup.
'When Nelson Mandela was unable to join the 2010 bid committee for a crucial trip to sway the FIFA Executive Committee members in the Caribbean, we called on Archbishop Tutu - who was in New York - to join us, and he accepted without hesitation.
'He joked that he was the “substitute for Madiba” and we said yes in football we have substitutions, and we are very happy to be able to call you up.
'He loved being there supporting us and understood that both he and Madiba played an instrumental role and that there was no difference between them.
'Archbishop Tutu was a people’s person. People energized him. He played an important role in us convincing people of South Africa’s unique qualities wherever he went. He generated a special feeling, a special bond with ordinary people, and that is what helped us.
'He stole the show on the eve of the 2010 FIFA World Cup at the Celebration Concert at Orlando Stadium, with his electrifying joy and excitement, echoing all our feelings as he said “it’s unbelievable! I’m dreaming man, I’m dreaming! Wake me up! What a lovely dream!”.
'As he bid the world a warm welcome to the cradle of humanity and famously proclaimed that “we are all Africans”, we now fondly bid him farewell as he completes his journey.
'Thank you for helping us dare to dream Archbishop Desmond Mpilo Tutu. We love you, we appreciate you, and we will miss you.'