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Last Updated: Friday, 7 July 2006, 15:36 GMT 16:36 UK
Mbeki makes World Cup pledge
Mbeki (left) with Kofi Annan and Sepp Blatter (front row), with Caf boss Issa Hayatou  (back row, right).
The official logo was launched at Friday's ceremony

South African President Thabo Mbeki has vowed to ensure the 2010 World Cup finals will be the best in the tournament's history.

"We said we will host in 2010 the most successful Fifa World Cup and we will keep that promise," he insisted, describing the tournament as "a beacon of hope."

"Football is all about hope - hope for a better world," a pastime which will "touch the world and build a better future.

"We come from a place where football is not just a game but an enduring passion," Mbeki said in the presence of UN secretary-general Kofi Annan.

In the German capital of Berlin for the official launching of the World Cup logo, Mbeki said the 2010 event would be one to remember, comparing staging the event with the ending of apartheid.

"Africa is ready, Africa's time has come, Africa is calling. Come to Africa in 2010," said Mbeki.

He urged fans to "celebrate Africa in all its magnificent splendour" and seize an opportunity to spread "human solidarity" as Africa emerges "from many centuries of great difficulty."

Fifa president Sepp Blatter praised the 2010 organisers for their tireless efforts in bringing momentum and "positive emotions" to their hosting preparations.

"The South African World Cup will also be part of a big initiative we are taking in Fifa by saying 'win in Africa with Africa," Blatter said, saying the sport had a duty to take on social responsibility in human development.

"I am optimistic for Africa. The whole world trusts you, the whole Fifa family - they say yes to South Africa, we trust South Africa [to host the World Cup]."

VOTE RESULTS
Will South Africa be ready to stage the 2010 World Cup?
Yes
 49.28% 
No
 50.72% 
12139 Votes Cast
Results are indicative and may not reflect public opinion

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