African leaders believe that this tournament will enable the continent to overturn stereotypes of tragedy, disaster and failure and prove that it is a vibrant can-do region with a positive future.
The World Cup is "the single greatest opportunity we have ever had to showcase our diversity and potential to the world,” declared South African president Jacob Zuma. “We must rise and tell the story of a continent which is alive with possibilities."
Ten soccer stadiums were ready early, unlike in many other host nations in the past, and six of them -- five built from scratch and one extensively expanded and rebuilt -- are magnificent arenas standing comparison with any in the world.
"This World Cup will be the pinnacle of the strides we have made over the last 16 years and will chart a new course in our country's history, characterized by a growth in tourism, a strong investment climate and an elevated global image,” said organizing committee chief Danny Jordaan in a press statement.
"For the first time in history, Africa really will be the center of the world's attention -- for all the right reasons -- and we are looking forward to showing our continent in its most positive light.”