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We are ready: SA tells the world

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We are ready: SA tells the world

by Simangaliso Zwane
22 Aug 2008
BuaNews Online
BuaNews Online

The South African government, the Local Organising Committee and FIFA have told a gathering of international media in Chaoyang that the country is on track to deliver a successful 2010 FIFA World Cup.

In a panel discussion forum, facilitated by the Government Communication and Information System (GCIS) and the Department of Sports and Recreation on Thursday, Local Organising Committee Chief Executive Officer Danny Jordaan said South Africa was well on course to host a successful World Cup and Confederations Cup on 2009.

After the Beijing Olympics draws to close, all eyes will be on South Africa as the host of the world's next biggest sporting event.

"In terms of our stadium construction programme, our deadline for the Confederations Cup venues is December 2008. Those stadiums are there and they are being upgraded. In terms of stadium readiness, we will be ready by the end of 2009.

"All the stadiums will be complete for kick off," he said, adding that the rest of the stadiums would be complete by October 2009 and at least 80 percent complete by July 2009.

Explaining the process that brought the first ever world cup to African soil, Mr Jordaan said South Africa's hosting of a successful event would open doors for other African countries to host more prestigious sporting events in the future.

"It is important that we succeed in this world cup, because nothing less is required to open the door for the last major event on the continent - the Olympics."

Mr Jordaan said he believed that hosting of such an event should be more than just football, it should be about improving the country and the lives of the people who live in it.

"It is about nation-building, it's about infrastructure improvement for us, it's about country branding, it's about repositioning, it's about improving the image of our country, and it's about tourism promotion.

"It's also about return on investment, job creation and legacy. These are the things that not only drive not only our nation but nations of the world," said Mr Jordaan.

Minister in the Presidency Essop Pahad reiterated Mr Jordaan's sentiments, saying South Africa was on track to host the world cup successfully.

"The staging of the event on African soil presents us with an enormous opportunity to showcase our country and our continent. I want to assure all of you present that we are on track to host one of the best and most successful world cups ever held.

"Our overarching goal is to host an incredible event on our continent and that it will be the envy of all," said Mr Pahad.

He said the world's attention was already on South Africa, that that this stare would intensify as the Olympics in Beijing draw to a close.

FIFA reaffirmed its commitment to South Africa and the country as credible hosts of the first African world cup.

FIFA Secretary General Jerome Valcke said: "We are on the right timing the right track to ensure that all goes according to plan."

South African national Deputy Police Commissioner Andre Pruis promised delegates they were doing everything to ensure a safe and secure world cup.

He said most of the safety and security infrastructure was already in place.

Deputy Minister of Finance Jabu Moleketi said that the money being spent to refurbish South Africa's infrastructure and transport network was money well spent.

The country can only benefit long after the world cup from these improvements, said the deputy minister.

A representative from MATCH, the official hospitality partner to FIFA, said he was confident with the country's accommodation capacity and quality. - BuaNews

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