All systems go for 2010 World Cup

Posted On Wednesday, 10 June 2009 02:00 Published by eProp Comercial Property News
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With one year to go, stadiums are nearly ready for the greatest sporting spectacle in the world.

2010“The 2010 Fifa World Cup has been talked about, debated and speculated on for so many years. And now, with one year to go to the tournament’s kickoff, finally it’s a given, an accepted reality. Not just for people in this country, but throughout the world.”

These are the words of Danny Jordaan, chief executive of the local organising committee.

June 11, 2010 will mark the start of one of the greatest sporting spectacles in the world.

On June 15, 2004, when South Africa was awarded the rights to host the first football World Cup on African soil, the cynics predicted that we could not pull it off.

Today, five of the 10 stadiums are complete, including the Nelson Mandela Bay stadium in Port Elizabeth, the first of the new structures to be handed over.

The five other stadiums are in the final stages of construction; most are about 70 percent complete.

At least 45000 of the 55000 hotel rooms required have been secured by Match, Fifa’s accommodation arm.

“Seeing the incredible progress that has been made is a relief. It gives us all a sense of accomplishment, joy, pride and achievement,” said Jordaan.

“ When we’ve said time and time again that ‘this World Cup is going to happen and it’s going to be successful’ it’s been easy for people to cast doubt because the event hasn’t happened as yet. But we as South Africans and Africans are undoubtedly in the process of delivering,” Jordaan added.

“When people questioned us, spoke of a ‘Plan B’ and said we would fail, they also questioned Nelson Mandela’s legacy.

“When we host a successful 2010 Fifa World Cup in one year’s time — delivered by both black and white coming together with one common goal — I hope Madiba will look back and that he will come to the conclusion that all his efforts, travels and contributions were not in vain. I hope he will be smiling,” Jordaan said.

Four of the stadiums — Ellis Park, Loftus Versfeld, Free State stadium, and Royal Bafokeng Sports Palace in Rustenburg — will be used for the Fifa Confederations Cup.

The Confed Cup, seen as a curtain raiser for the World Cup, features 2006 World Champions Italy, Bafana Bafana, and six other continental champions. It starts on Sunday.

The 61000-seater Ellis Park stadium in Johannesburg will host the opening match of the Confed Cup between Bafana Bafana and Iraq, and will also host the final.

Though the 50000-seater Loftus Versfeld stadium in Pretoria, upgraded at a cost of R131-million, will host the much-anticipated clash between Italy and Brazil.

The Free State stadium in Bloemfontein, which also underwent a massive reconstruction, is expected to be filled to capacity on Monday when Brazil meet African champions Egypt.

The Royal Bafokeng Sports Palace is ready to host four matches during the Confederations Cup tournament.

The Nelson Mandela Bay stadium in Port Elizabeth was completed more than a year ahead of the World Cup, and the 48000-seater stadium will host eight games.

Work on the other five venues is also nearing completion, with Soccer City, near Soweto, the venue for both the opening and closing ceremonies and the finals, more than 80percent complete.

The roof of the 94000-seater venue is 90 percent complete, as well as the seats, and the calabash cladding surrounding the stadium is also nearing completion.

Green Point stadium in Cape Town is about 60percent complete with more than a third of the roof structure finished.

Durban’s skyline is now dominated by the imposing arch on the roof of the Moses Mabhida stadium.

Both the Peter Mokaba sports complex in Polokwane and Mbombela stadium in Nelspruit are 70 percent complete and expected to be finished by October.

In the first and second phases of ticket sales about 850000 tickets were released by Fifa, though the demand was about 2million.

South Africa has also been marketing the event locally and overseas since January.

Rich Mkhondo, chief communications officer for the organising committee, said: “We’re now involving the fans, the supporters, and the soccer ambassadors, including former Bafana players and soccer legends.”

Despite concerns, including from Parliament that the event was under-marketed, Jan Scheer, spokesman for the German embassy, said South Africa was on par with that country regarding marketing.

Derek Carstens, head of marketing for the organising committee, said: “The soccer world cup markets itself, using the power of football to bring people together. [Excitement] will peak in the last six months, as it did in Germany.”

For those not lucky enough to get tickets to the stadiums, fan parks and viewing areas are in progress at various points in major cities.

Johannesburg has identified three fan sites: The official Fifa Fan Park will be at the Mary Fitzgerald Square in Newtown, with other sites at Innes-Free Park in Sandton and Walter Sisulu Square in Kliptown will be a smaller viewing sites;

The Grand Parade will be the official Fifa Fan Park. Smaller stadiums within the city and smaller viewing sites in Atlantis, Khayelitsha and Maynardville have also been proposed;

Despite the progress made, some challenges remain. These include a poor public transport system and taxi operators threatening to derail the tournament if the government implements its multibillion-rand Bus Rapid Transport System.

Newly appointed Transport Minister Sbu Ndebele is expected to meet representatives of the taxi industry today to find a solution to the problem.

The Airports Company of South Africa will reveal progress on airports today.

Gauteng Premier Nomvula Mokonyane said yesterday: “We are ready to host this World Cup and all is in place to welcome people from all over the world. They will speak highly of this wonderful country. Let us join hands and make it a memorable experience for all.” — Additional reporting by Nkosana Lekotjolo and Nkululeko Ncana

Four water canons have been procured- six more will be delivered before 2010. Ultraviolet dye will be used in the “unlikely event” that security needs to separate crowds. The dye will help identify troublemakers more easily.

Eight thousand policemen to be trained specifically for crowd management. Eight bomb disposal robots have been procured, with two more still to be delivered. Three hundred mobile surveillance cameras will be operational throughout the tournament.

High performance vehicles for patrolling highways are still being delivered- but 100 BMWs will be available for 2010. Four helicopters have been delivered, with two more still to come. There will be a total of 40 helicopters for the tournament. 41 000 police officers and 10 000 police reservists will be trained and ready for the tournament.

A final draft of the security plan will be presented to FIFA for approval at the end of June.

 

Last modified on Thursday, 31 October 2013 17:08

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