JOHANNESBIRG: Fikile Mbalula, Sports Minister of 2010 World Cup host South Africa, has paid tribute to Sepp Blatter’s role in spreading the football gospel writes KEIR RADNEDGE.

Mbalula said he had been shocked by Blatter’s announcement of impending resignation on Tuesday.

He said: “This development four days after he was re-elected shocked us all so it’s only down to him, who loves South Africa, who knows why he had to resign.

“We can’t speculate. We can say only it may be because of the investigation unless he is sick and realised he cannot continue any longer.”

Turning to the hosting of the 2010 World Cup, Mbalula said: “Sepp Blatter has been a good friend to South Africa.

“He played a major role in terms of shifting the world to focus on Africa in terms of hosting the World Cup for the first time.

“He is the president of FIFA who delivered that – and history will remember him for that.”