South Africa marks 100 days to World Cup
South Africans proudly declared themselves nearly ready Tuesday,
100 days before they host football's World Cup.
Tournament organizers have been repeatedly and sometimes sharply questioned about whether a country with high rates of poverty and crime was capable of hosting football's premier event.
At the 100-days ceremony in Durban, one of nine host cities, the mood was celebratory and determined. Elsewhere across the country, South Africans performed a dance based on football moves and sang the national anthem, stressing that hosting the tournament requires enthusiasm and national unity.
"As South Africans we have encountered a lot of skepticism but today, as we celebrate this milestone, we can confidently say to the world that we will be ready," Danny Jordaan, head of the South African organizing committee, said in Durban.
Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe said the "brick and mortar" work was finished, and now it was up to all South Africans to prepare to be good hosts.
Sepp Blatter, president of FIFA, football's global governing body, said there was no doubt that South Africa was a good choice.
"Everything is on track and ready," Blatter said. "The African continent will host the World Cup. So why don't certain groups in the world want to believe it? It is so easy to just trust and have confidence."