Sir Alex gives 2010 thumbs up

2008-07-26 23:16
Pretoria - South Africa's preparations to host the 2010 World Cup finals were given major thumbs up by Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson.

Ferguson was speaking after the Red Devils had massacred Kaizer Chiefs 4-0 in the Vodacom Challenge final played at Loftus in front of a near capacity crowd on Saturday.

Ferguson said he saw a big improvement not just on the playing field from his last visit two years ago, but praised the attitude of the people and readiness of the country's infra-structures.

In 2006 Ferguson brought a third string squad that lost to Chiefs in the final at the same venue.

Said the United boss: "It is a unique situation that South Africa is the first African country to host the World Cup.

"I was delighted by the reception we received where ever we have gone on this week long tour.

"What has really impressed me is the enthusiasm of the people of South Africa who have shown me that South Africa will host a successful World Cup in 2010."

No soccer hooligans

Ferguson said that there would be challenges facing South Africa in 2010. He cited transport and security as the two big challenges.

Said Ferguson: "What was fantastic on this trip was that we did not see one ugly incident on or off the field. There are no soccer hooligans here.

"That gives me great hope that the security for the biggest soccer event in the world will be top class."

But he warned that other countries could import hooligans and that security must be tight at all venues.

He also was worried about transporting fans around the country. He said that when United beat Chelsea in the European Champions League final he saw how much interest there were from fans.

"It was the same at Euro 2008. Fans need to be transported to venues where they can watch the games either live on television.

"What surprised me was how many fans went to these events. It will be the same in 2010 and they must be looked after."

Surprised by fans

But he said he was pleasantly surprised by fans in South Africa who packed the four Challenge matches - three involving United.

United and Chiefs drew 1-1 in the opening Challenge match last Saturday at a packed Newlands in Cape Town and then beat Orlando Pirates 1-0 at a packed Kings Park Stadium in Durban on Tuesday night.

Although Loftus was sold out for the final, there were empty seats. It was about 95% full.

There was not one even minor incident reported at any of the venues where United featured against the two most popular teams in South Africa.

Said Ferguson: "The facilities and hotels we have stayed in and played at are first rate.

"I wish South Africa well for 2010 and hope they have a successful World Cup.

"There is certainly more than enough enthusiasm for it to be hosted here."

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