South Africa will be hosting the tournament on African soil for the first time in June and the Ghanaian says he is looking forward to it not just because Ghana has a ‘such a strong side’, but also because it will do much to ‘puncture prejudices that, for many, unfortunately continue to define the image of the continent’.
“The Cup is a tremendous opportunity for Africa to show how, out of the headlines, it has changed for the better,” Annan wrote in a column for UK's Guardian newspaper.
“There are, of course, countries where problems, conflicts and abuses have worsened. But these are the minority. There are many more where democracy and human rights have taken root, governance has improved, civil society has blossomed and opportunities are being extended to ever larger segments of the population.
“Four years ago, the World Cup altered many people's perception of Germany. This time, people will be surprised by Africa's remarkable progress and good spirits – and hopefully, its football teams.”