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Last Updated: Wednesday, 5 November, 2003, 19:11 GMT
Fifa team wraps up SA visit
Jan Peeters and Ngconde Balfour
Inspection leader Jan Peeters hands Minister of Sport Ngconde Balfour a Fifa pennant

Five inspectors from world football's governing body Fifa have wrapped up a week-long visit to South Africa to assess the nation's capability to host the 2010 World Cup finals.

Although the inspectors are unable to comment on their observations due to Fifa regulations, the delegation head Jan Peeters did reveal that his team had been struck by the welcome it had received.

"On our first day, we were welcomed by President Mbeki and on the last day, Nelson Mandela visited us," the Belgian said at a news briefing.

"In between, we had lunch with the speaker of parliament, we had the minister of sport with us the whole time and we were warmly welcomed throughout."

Peeters, who is the president of the Belgian Football Association, said that this proved the whole of the South African nation is behind the bid.

And he added that the five inspectors were all "extremely moved" by Nelson Mandela welcoming them onto Robben Island, the island off Cape Town where the former president spent 18 years in prison under apartheid, on Wednesday.

Mandela told the delegation that awarding South Africa the tournament would be a tribute to the country's peaceful transition to multiracial democracy.

"We don't make the decision," Peeters explained.

"We have been here to look, observe, question, to see what South Africa can offer."

During their six-day visit, the Fifa team conducted a hectic schedule - visiting stadiums, telecommunications facilities and hospitals.

South Africa, who lost the right to host the 2006 World Cup by just one vote, boasts more than the eight stadiums required by Fifa and Africa's best economy and telecommunications.

And Danny Jordaan, the South African bid's chief executive, was upbeat about the Fifa delegation's visit.

"I have no doubt that South Africa is the best bet for the African continent," he said.

Fifa has reserved the 2010 World Cup for an African country and Egypt, Morocco, Tunisia and Libya are also bidding to host the event.

The Fifa inspection team visited Morocco in early October, and will travel to Egypt, Tunisia and Libya before Fifa's executive announce the winning bid in May 2004.

Mbeki meets Fifa team
31 Oct 03  |  African
Mbeki seeks French support
29 Oct 03  |  African
Fifa visits Morocco
07 Oct 03  |  African

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