JOHANNESBURG - South Africans fans should continue to support the World Cup as the country faces the ignominy of being the first host nation eliminated in the first round, organisers said on Thursday.
No host nation has ever fallen at the first hurdle in the tournament since it began in 1930 but South Africa's crushing 3-0 defeat to Uruguay in Pretoria on Wednesday leaves them very likely to set that unwanted precedent.
"We hope the nation will remain a great host and continue to support the six pack (6 African countries) and the tournament," said Rich Mkhondo, a spokesman for the local World Cup organising committee.
FIFA also urged South Africans to keep supporting the tournament.
"The group stage is not finished. We urge all South Africans to be behind this tournament," said FIFA spokesman Nicolas Maingot, adding that 75 percent of the tournament's tickets were bought by locals.