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Sep, 17, 2008

Blatter: We need to encourage more excitement

JOHANNESBURG, South Africa - FIFA president Sepp Blatter believes South Africa needs to generate more excitement about the 2010 World Cup.

Blatter spoke Wednesday at the end of a four-day visit to check on preparations for the 2010 tournament and next year's Confederations Cup.

"What I am missing a little bit here is the identification that next year is already the Confederations Cup," he said.

Blatter called for greater advertising and publicity campaigns around the tournament, saying he had raised the issue with local organizers.

"Believe in it," he said. "Make banners and not only in South Africa but everywhere in the world. ... so when you arrive at the airport it says: 'We are ready. Come."

During his trip Blatter visited stadiums and met with former President Nelson Mandela, who helped South Africa secure the World Cup.

He said he was pleased with progress and was "convinced once more and determined once more that this World Cup in South Africa will be a great World Cup."

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