Midlands for Paraguay

2010-01-05 00:00

A DECISION to register with Fifa as a team home-base camp has paid off for the midlands’ Woodridge Country Estate, which is expecting to provide accommodation for Paraguay during the 2010 World Cup.

Owner Alistair McGlashan said he applied to Fifa to have Woodridge registered as a team home base in 2006, and after the world governing body’s inspections around the country, the four-star hotel in Balgowan was among those approved.

The country estate also received delegations from Argentina, the U.S., England, France, Japan and Denmark.

This has paid off for Woodridge, as Paraguay’s deal to be based in Mossel Bay has fallen through due to the state of the training pitch in the Western Cape town.

McGlashan said the deal for the South American team to be based at Woodridge is “basically confirmed and I am 99,9% sure they will stay here”.

The Woodridge owner said his side of the deal with Fifa is finalised and he is waiting for the Paraguayan Football Association to sign on the dotted line with the global body.

“Paraguay have sent two delegations — the last was just after the [December 4] final draw in Cape Town where we held detailed discussions in a four-hour meeting on what requirements they will need, such as training equipment,” McGlashan said yesterday.

“We have a gym that they were happy with and there are probably two more machines they will need.

“They want to have a lot of privacy so the whole resort will be closed off for them.”

McGlashan said Paraguay will use the nearby Michaelhouse school fields to train, and not Harry Gwala Stadium.

He said the Paraguayans will bring a youth team with them that may play a match against their South African counterparts at Harry Gwala, while the stadium will also be available should the South Americans want to play friendly warm-ups there.

The entire Paraguayan 2010 delegation will be based at Woodridge in 52 individual suites and eight for the youth team. 

McGlashan said the uMngeni, uMgungundlovu and Msunduzi councils and KZN local organising committee have all agreed to provide support in terms of security, logistics, police escorts and facilities.

Paraguay will use charter flights from Oribi Airport to play their fixtures against Italy in Cape Town on June 14, Slovakia in Bloemfontein on June 20 and New Zealand in Polokwane on June 24.

The Paraguayans will bring their own chef. The  first delegates are expected to arrive on May 29, and the team itself at least a week before the World Cup kicks off on June 11. According to Fifa regulations, the hotel must remain booked until June 30.


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