SA football’s date with destiny in Cape Town

2009-12-02 00:00

CAPE Town is the fitting venue for Friday’s 2010 World Cup Final Draw, given the creation of a plan to hold the global showpiece was first established in the city, Local Organising Committee CEO Danny Jordaan said yesterday.

Jordaan was referring to a Safa workshop held on Robben Island in 1997, where he and LOC chairman Irvin Khoza were tasked with putting together the bid for South Africa’s failed attempt to host the 2006 World Cup.

The end of the final draw for the 32-team World Cup will mark the beginning of South Africa’s final phase of preparations for 2010.

“We are shifting our focus, because of the completion of the stadiums, on to the operational issues,” he said. “Now it’s about transport, it’s about accommodation, ticketing, hospita­lity, protocol and marketing.

“It’s also appropriate that we are back in Cape Town, back on Robben Island, where the Fifa executive will meet on Thursday, which was where the creation of this idea was formed that there will be a new South Africa … part of the international community … and that we will assemble the nations of the world in this country.

“It’s a long path from Robben Island back to Robben Island that will really trigger the beginning of the World Cup within our country. So it is a special moment for us.

“We see the draw as a spectacular show and those who will witness it, I’m sure, will agree with us that this is a defining moment in the long path from bidding to hosting and delivering this World Cup.”

Addressing a media conference at the ICC in Cape Town yesterday, Jordaan said 22 of the 32 World Cup participants have established their home bases.

“Of course, they must still fina­lise and sign the contracts,” he said. “After the draw, we will have a team workshop, and after that teams will go into the different area­s where they have identified their base camps.

“And before they depart [South Africa], I’m sure that all 32 teams will have finalised the locations where they will base themselves.”

Asked if the Local Organising Committee is to put pressure on the Gauteng local government to come up with the funds to have the Gautrain finished in time for the World Cup, Jordaan replied: “No, I think the Gautrain has never been central to our transport plans.

“In a World Cup environment, the challenges for transport are inner city and inter-city transport. The Gautrain makes no contribution to finding a solution to that issue.

“We are going to focus on the 1 000 buses we need to acquire and 200 aircraft, because we must move teams in and out of the match venues, and make sure that their fans can follow those teams.”

New members of the board accepted at yesterday’s LOC meeting include Safa’s new president and vice-president, Kirsten Nematandani and Chief Mwelo Nonkonyana, Safa’s Eric Mtshatsha and Nomsa Mahlangu, Minister of Police Nathi Mthethwa, Transport Minister ’Sbu Ndebele and Home Affairs Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma.

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