‘Let us all pray that God will bless the World Cup!’ said Archbishop Thabo Makgoba on Monday as he launched a special prayer for the tournament.
‘It is a short and simple prayer which is easy to learn, and I hope many people, of many backgrounds, will join me in praying it daily in the coming weeks’ added the Anglican Archbishop of Cape Town. ‘We are asking for the well-being of everyone who is in any way associated with the FIFA 2010 World Cup: players, spectators, South Africans as host nation, and everyone who travels here. Apart from the Olympics, this is the most widely supported sports event in the world – countless millions, even billions, love “the beautiful game” and we want to share this love with one another, for the good of the world.’
Dr Makgoba went on to say ‘We know from experience that sport is potentially a tremendous catalyst for good. Sport can bring people of different races and religions together, building the confidence of young people and promoting social cohesion, both within this country and across the whole human family.’
This, he said, was probably the greatest, and most lasting, benefit that could be gained from the World Cup. ‘We do not know what long-term material improvements there will be to the average South African as a result of the tournament, though the infrastructure developments should lead to lasting gains. I hope it will be a catalyst for change in other ways, and also prompt the South African Football Association to set up better football education, training, and health clinics, for young boys and girls.’
‘Yet this I do know’ he stressed, ‘the World Cup will lift the spirits of this country of soccer-lovers, and we can harness this for nation building, which is of more fundamental value. I believe it will also touch the hearts of those whose first love is another sporting code – the success of holding Super-14 rugby games at Orlando Football Stadium shows vividly how support for skilful play in a good match enthuses us all, and how sports-lovers of very different backgrounds can find they have a common bond!
‘I know I have to say “may the best team win”, but in my heart I am certainly hoping that Bafana Bafana prove to be this “best team”!’ concluded the Archbishop, who will be attending the Algeria-England match in Cape Town on 18 June. ‘Most of all, I am praying for a good competition and entertaining football – and for God’s blessing on us all.’
The Archbishop’s prayer reads:
God bless the 2010 World Cup:
bless those who compete, and those who watch,
bless those who host, and those who visit,
and help all who love the 'the beautiful game'
grow in the love you have given us to share. Amen
Issued by the Office of the Anglican Archbishop of Cape Town