Sharing memories as SA is declared ready for The Cup

2010-02-27 13:21

SPORTS stars took journalists down memory lane with anecdotes about their achievements at different Gauteng sports venues yesterday.

The occasion marked the beginning of the 2010 Fifa Local Organising Committee (LOC) seven-day Host Cities Tour, on which the LOC took with them 120 local and international media personnel.

Rugby legend Joel Stransky – scorer of that breathtaking drop goal that won the Springboks the 1995 World Cup trophy – told what an integral role President Nelson Mandela played in their famous victory at Ellis Park against the mighty All Blacks, New Zealand.

Sitting in a world-class conference facility within the refurbished soccer and rugby venue, Ellis Park, Stransky told journalists how Mandela made them feel obliged to play for the then fragile Rainbow Nation.

Gauteng’ Premier Nomvula Mokonyane and Danny Jordaan, the LOC chief executive, took to the podium to remind everyone of other historical events that happened at this majestic stadium.

“It was here where Nelson Mandela was flown to come and watch Bafana Bafana play against Zambia, leaving behind his inauguration celebrations in 1994,” said Jordaan.

At the spanking new Soccer City in Nasrec, south of Johannesburg, Kaizer Chiefs’ legends Doctor “16V” Khumalo, John “Shoes” Moshoue and their Orlando Pirates counterpart, Edward “Magents” Motale, and former Jomo Cosmos marksman Philemon “Chippa” Masinga, told of unforgettable battles between their respective clubs as well as their conquests in the Bafana Bafana jersey.

The now 94?000-seater stadium looked set for the opening match featuring Bafana against Mexico on June 11.

Fifa secretary-general Jerome Valcke said: “You cannot find such a beautiful stadium anywhere in the world today.”
Jordaan explained that Soccer City was more than ready inside, but the stadium precinct was still being beautified – “but football is played on the pitch and the pitch is ready”.

At the Capital Hill in Tshwane the media personnel and the LOC were joined by Pretoria Bantu Callies legends Lucas “Masterpieces” Moripe and Patrick “Let Them Dance” Molala as they were taken through a tour of Super Stadium in Atteridgeville, west of Pretoria.

The venue will be used as a training ground for World Cup matches to be played at Loftus Versveld Stadium.

Despite slight glitches at the beginning due to traffic jams, the first leg of the tour seemed to achieve the desired goal set by the LOC – to show the world that “South Africa is ready”.

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