South Africa has beaten off competition from several African rivals to win the right to host the 2010 World Cup finals.

Following the late withdrawals for both Tunisia and Libya, South Africa saw off North African rivals Morocco and Egypt to be awarded the finals.

“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.”

TheÊvote wasÊmade by secret ballot and was decided after one round of voting, which implied that it was a clear success for South Africa.

“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 Neslon Mandela who wa sin attendance when the results were announced, expressed his delight.

“I feel like a young man of 50!” said the 85-year-old Mandela.

“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.”