SOUTH AFRICA TO HOST 2010 WORLD CUP
South Africa has won the right to host the 2010 World Cup finals.
The African country was pipped to the 2006 event by Germany, but did not wallow in self pity and worked hard on their preparations for hosting 2010.
The likes of Egypt and Morocco provided stiff competition, but world governing body Fifa came down in favour of the South African bid.
Tunisia pulled out of the running on Friday, followed by Libya on Saturday, as they did not meet the conditions for hosting, which left Fifa's executive committee to work from a shortlist of three.
South Africa's bid proved to be the most persuasive and have been given the right to host Africa's first World Cup.
"We are happy and satisfied to bring the tournament to Africa," said Fifa president Sepp Blatter. "Football is a global game.
"Africa has sent its best players to the major leagues and has dominated junior events and gained Olympic medals and justice is being done through the big country of football in bringing the 2010 event to a national association of Africa."
The vote was made by secret ballot and overseen by independent supervisors and was decided after one round of voting, which suggested that it was an overwhelming success for South Africa.
Former president of South African Nelson Mandela was in attendance at the ceremony in Zurich, Switzerland.
The vote by Fifa's 24-man executive committee was met by joyous scenes from the South African delegation.
South Africa has hosted rugby and cricket World Cups and will now get the chance to prove its ability to organise a major football event.
"This is for Africa," said chairman of the South African bid, Irvin Khoza. "In South Africa our history has taught us that when we win, we win together. So we will ask all of Africa to aid our bid to host the World Cup in 2010.
"Everybody knows that hosting this event provides a lot of economic benefit so we welcome the football world to aid the development of South Africa."
Former president Mandela was overjoyed at the outcome.
"I feel like a young man of 50!" said the 85-year-old "The beauty of this victory is that we were dealing with some stiff competition who made it tough and I thank everyone who has supported us.
"Those who have had their hopes dashed must not be discouraged. To not succeed today is no reflection on those who have not been successful.
"It is a case that the next time you succeed you need to be as lucky as we have been today."
A number of Moroccan journalists were not happy with the voting procedure and made their feelings known to Blatter, who they accused of bias, but the Fifa president defended the electoral statute.