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September 16, 2009

South Africans confident of 2010 success

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Soccer fans at the 2009 Confederations Cup, photo by Jade Archer

As the world’s focus shifts to the 2010 FIFA World Cup final draw, to be held in Cape Town on December 4, an independent study has found that 89% of South Africans are aware of the grandeur of the event and are confident that the soccer spectacular will be a resounding success.

The positive study results, which come amid negative reports about “mediocre” marketing of the event, reflect a higher sensitivity to all aspects of hosting the 2010 FIFA World Cup and an anxious enthusiasm to put on a good show for the watching world, the Local Organising Committee (LOC) has said.

Final draw production

Combined Artists Productions – the company that produced the preliminary draw in November 2007 and the FIFA Confederations Cup draw in November 2008 – has been chosen to produce the stage and show of the final draw, which will determine who meets who in the competition, LOC CEO Danny Jordaan told a press briefing in Sandton, Johannesburg, on Tuesday, September 8. The stage and set have already been designed and are in the process of final sign-off before commissioning commences.

“Combined Artists Productions has already proven its ability to put on productions that are world class and that capture the unique spirit of South Africa and we are excited to be working alongside them to host this very important event,” said LOC chairperson Dr Irvin Khoza.

“The final draw in Germany attracted a cumulative television audience of 134.5-million individuals and was shown live in 137 countries, so clearly this is a huge opportunity for us to showcase our country to a watching world. I am confident that we will put on a show to remember.”

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The 2009 Confederations Cup, photo by Kate Thompson

200-million to tune into draw

It is believed that more than 2 000 guests will watch the final draw live and close to 1 000 media professionals will cover the event, with more than 200-million individuals expected to tune in for the television broadcast.

With only 270 days left until kick-off, the organisers acknowledged that challenges such as crime, transportation, potential hooliganism, accommodation and the completion of stadiums have to be overcome “as soon as possible”, as the world is starting to feel the excitement of the world’s biggest soccer event thanks to “aggressive” marketing.

Jordaan, who said the LOC is engaging all stakeholders in the transport sector, announced that the construction of stadiums – now between 80% and 92% complete – is set to be wrapped up in October.

When asked about potential hooliganism, FIFA secretary-general Jérôme Valcke said: “We are working together with not only national federations, but also with various police departments to ensure that they do not come here.”

Strong support

Support for the tournament both locally and abroad has been strong – at the close of applications for the Volunteering Programme on August 31, 67 999 people from 170 countries had applied to be in SA next year to help deliver the event.

The LOC Board also announced the reappointment of the former minister in the office of the presidency, Dr Essop Pahad, to the board.

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