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11. Oktober 2010

German President Christian Wulff honours German soccer coach Joachim Löw and the German national soccer team after the FIFA World Cup™ in South Africa

The Deputy Head of Mission at the South African Embassy in Berlin, Ms Mbuyane-Mokone, was invited to a reception hosted by the President of the Republic of Germany, Mr Wulff, at the official office in Castle Bellevue in Berlin on 5 October 2010. 

Chancellor Angela Merkel, national soccer coach Joachim Löw, the national soccer team as well as other high level guests attended the function where President Wulff presented the German national soccer team with the Silver Laurel Leaf Award, the highest German honour for excellence in sports.

“I am presenting to you, the players that were chosen to represent Germany for the World Cup in South Africa, with the Silver Laurel Leaf Award for sporting excellence. And if I speak of sporting excellence then I do not only mean your wonderful passes, fantastic goals and unforgettable victories, I also mean your great attitude: fairness, respecting your opponents, good sporting spirit also in defeat and the willingness to give your best – for the team but also for the many fans in the stadia and the television screens.”, said President Wulff in his speech.

He also mentioned that the national team is a mirror of German society by becoming more and more diverse with players whose parents were Turkish, Polish, Ghanaian or Brazilian.  President Wulff thanked South Africa for hosting such a wonderful tournament and expressed his best wishes for the country. 

President Wulff then presented the Order of Merit to the national coach, Joachim Löw, and thanked him for the great work he has done with the national team. He continued the praise by saying “…worldwide your have become one of the most recognized and appreciated public faces for our country and we are happy and proud to have you.”

At the reception following the ceremony Deputy Head of Mission Ms Mbuyane-Mokone was frequently asked what the legacy of the World Cup means to South Africa. She responded:

“The World Cup 2010 in South Africa was a truly wonderful experience and has left the country with great benefits. It was the first time that a World Cup was held on African soil and to show the world what Africa and especially South Africa has to offer in terms of hospitality, friendliness, professionalism and joy.  I think it changed the image of Africa for many people – away from the Afro-pessimism we experience so often. The country now has an improved infrastructure that bears many opportunities for tourism but also for South Africans with its significantly improved means of transportation, electricity and road safety. And, like in Germany in 2006, it also was a means of unifying our country even further – it was a positive experience that was shared by each and every South African from all walks of life.”

Ms Mbuyane-Mokone also pointed out that the new stadia like Soccer City in Johannesburg were now in frequent use – it will host big sports events like the soccer Soweto Derby between Kaizer Chiefs and Orlando Pirates, other premier league soccer matches as well as international soccer and rugby matches.   

Since hosting the 2010 World Cup matches, including the opening and final, the stadia went on to stage four high-attendance soccer and rugby matches, two of which were sold-out events. These include the Telkom Charity Cup, a Tri-Nations match between the SA Springboks and the All Blacks of New Zealand, Bafana Bafana vs Ghana on 10 August and the first round of the MTN Top 8 semi-finals between Soweto giants Chiefs and Pirates.

World-famous entertainer Neil Diamond is to perform at the 94 000-capacity venue in the coming months.



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