Blatter hails Bay stadium

Posted On Monday, 31 May 2010 02:00 Published by eProp Commercial Property News
Rate this item
(0 votes)

With less than two weeks to kick-off, world soccer boss Sepp Blatter yesterday gave the Nelson Mandela Bay stadium a big thumbs-up.

Irvin KhozaWith less than two weeks to kick-off, world soccer boss Sepp Blatter on Sunday gave the Nelson Mandela Bay stadium a big thumbs-up.

Fifa president Blatter visited the North End stadium with a high-powered delegation including Fifa secretary-general Jerome Valcke, organising committee chairman Irvin Khoza and local organising committee chief executive Danny Jordaan.

The municipality officially handed over the R2-billion stadium to Fifa, which means the soccer body assumes total operational responsibility for the stadium until the end of the tournament in July.

Blatter and his delegation later visited the historic Dan Qeqe Stadium in Zwide township where they received a warm welcome.

Large numbers of residents turned out in Bafana T-shirts with their faces painted in the national flag, blowing vuvuzelas.

Speaking at the North End stadium, Blatter thanked both the municipality and the city’s residents for their support. “This stadium is more than a stadium, it is an architectural achievement,” he said.

Blatter encouraged residents and spectators to attend the eight matches in Port Elizabeth.

“There is such a wonderful football programme here and please make sure that there are people here to support these teams.”

Blatter stressed that he would ultimately wish to see one of the African teams in the semi-finals.

“We have six African teams to play in the World Cup and I will be happy if one of them can play in a World Cup semi-final.”

Blatter stressed that South Africans should be proud of the World Cup tournament as it belonged to South Africa. “We will deliver the South African World Cup (together),” Blatter said.

At the end of his speech he smiled and said, “and don’t forget to enjoy the game”.

Responding to a media question relating to the readiness of the stadium, Blatter said those who did not trust that South Africa was ready, “must come over here and look. Let’s trust Africa.

Let’s have confidence in the World Cup.”

Blatter refused to be drawn into questions on allegations of terrorist threats during the World Cup.

“The less we talk about the security the better,” he said. “Don’t worry about the security. Security will be okay.”

The Brazilian media asked Blatter about the use of vuvuzelas during the World Cup matches and he replied by saying that vuvuzelas were “an expression of joy. Let’s celebrate football and let’s celebrate football with vuvuzelas”.

Blatter awarded an official Fifa World Cup medal to both Eastern Cape Premier Noxolo Kiviet and Mayor Zanoxolo Wayile as a token of appreciation for hosting the World Cup.

Wayile, who welcomed the delegation to the stadium, said that “the moment of truth has arrived, Fifa is here”.

“We are 11 days (away) and this is the moment for our country and the world to remember.”

Kiviet stressed that plans were afoot to ensure Nelson Mandela Bay was labelled the “place to be” during the World Cup.

Valcke briefly answered a query relating to ticket sales by saying that Fifa was “happy” with the sales and that all 10 stadiums “will have a 97% occupancy”.

In Zwide, where Blatter was named a “son of the African soil” by Wayile for his contribution towards bringing the 2010 World Cup to South Africa, the delegation was greeted by loud cheers.

Blatter was speechless for about five minutes and then told the crowd they must never forget Nelson Mandela as he was influential in bringing the World Cup to South Africa.

“The soccer World Cup will enable the world to see and learn more about South Africa. You must be very proud to host such a huge event.

The football games will bring a lot of emotions to many people,” said Blatter, who later danced and greeted residents.

Nelson Mandela Bay World Cup director Errol Heynes said the event had been designed to bring the atmosphere into the middle of the township and give people a foretaste of what the Fan Fest would be like.

On Saturday, Falcke and Jordaan paid a fleeting visit to Knysna to check the quality of the base camp training pitches, giving both Pezula’s Field of Dreams and Loerie Park the thumbs up.

Mayor Eleanore Bouw-Spies said she was grateful to Fifa and the organising committee for their continued support, adding: “I can safely say that we are ready to welcome France and Denmark.” Additional reporting by Janine Oelofse


Last modified on Wednesday, 30 October 2013 19:44

Most Popular

GMI Property Group adds a New Mall to its Stable: Bronkhorstspruit Mall

Jul 21, 2022
GMI Properties Group announces the development of the much-anticipated Bronkhorstspruit…

Equites Property Fund and Mabel conclude B-BBEE transaction

Jul 21, 2022
Andrea Taverna-Turisan
The JSE listed specialist logistics property fund, Equites, today officially announced…

The growing take-away and fast food, and food delivery, culture

Jul 20, 2022
Restaurant and Take-Aways data for May 2022
Restaurant and Take-Aways data for May 2022 points to “solid but slowing” growth in…

The rapidly rising cost of living is reflecting in residential rentals

Jul 21, 2022
TPN Graph-Rental Demand
Demand for residential rental properties saw some recovery in the first quarter of 2022…

Despite hike, interest rate remains below pre-Covid levels, says Dr Andrew Golding

Jul 21, 2022
Dr Andrew Golding
With the inflation outlook deteriorating since the previous Monetary Policy Committee…

Please publish modules in offcanvas position.