Football: World Cup trophy kicks off final tour around S.Africa

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The Independent Football

The World Cup trophy started the final leg of a world tour Friday in Khayelitsha township outside Cape Town before going around South Africa ahead of next month's football tournament.

"When you come to the arrival of the trophy and the teams then you know that the game is on," Danny Jordaan, local organising committee chairman, said in a statement.

The coveted gold statue has toured 86 countries in 225 days. On Thursday it was welcomed to South Africa by former president Nelson Mandela ahead of the June 11 kick-off of Africa's first World Cup.

"The World Cup is about bringing a dream to the people, and this trophy is part of that dream," said Jerome Valcke, FIFA secretary general.

Football fans singing and blowing vuvuzelas - the long plastic trumpets ubiquitous at South African football matches - gathered at the OR Tambo Sports Centre to see the gold-and-malachite trophy.

"It's a privilege. You can feel it now. We are prepared (for the tournament)," said university student Vuyo Maqebelo.