Wednesday, September 12, 2007

1000 Days to the 2010 World Cup

It's almost here! Can you feel it?
Ok, not *almost* here, but on its way ... slowly but surely, the opening of the 2010 World Cup in South Africa is creeping up on us.

How am I getting there? I have somewhat of a clue (look at some of my previous posts on this subject under 'Trip to Africa') but I'm still not entirely sure. For the purposes of intrigue and mystery (and because I have no answer to this), I'll just say that more time is now being freed up to concentrate on this.

Anyways, 1000 days! This, a press release from Ndaba Dlamini of the Johannesburg News Agency regarding the plans in place to commemorate the countdown to the World Cup in South Africa.

To read the original article, please click here!

THE 1 000-day countdown to the 2010 Fifa World Cup™ will be marked on Saturday, 15 September at several celebrations around the country. They are aimed at upping the excitement quotient and getting all South Africans to rally behind the tournament.

In Joburg, a concert in Newtown will mark the start of the official countdown to the kick-off of the 2010 Fifa World Cup™. Among others, musicians Dozi, Amanda Strydom and the Soweto String Quartet are expected to perform.

The World Cup kicks off on 11 June 2010 and South Africa's preparations are already way ahead compared to Germany a thousand days before the last World Cup, in 2006.

Speaking about the thousand-day countdown at Safa House on Thursday, 5 September, Danny Jordaan, the chief executive of the Local Organising Committee (LOC), said commendable strides had been made in preparing for the event.

"The [1 000-day mark] signifies the start of the operational phase of the preparations, a period where we start moving and getting ready for the Confederations Cup."

Already, the LOC had selected the nine cities that would host the 64 matches to be played during the World Cup. Five stadiums that would host the Confederations Cup had also been selected.

Johannesburg plays host to the opening ceremony, and the first and final games.

A Host City Forum, a meeting composed of all the host cities, had also been set up, Jordaan said. "The forum meets once a month to [give] their monthly reports concerning their preparations for the World Cup. We are very happy to say that we are satisfied with the progress all the cities are making so far."

Host city and stadium construction contracts had been signed and the rights protection committee, composed of the national government, Fifa and the LOC, had been set up, he added.

"We are also proud to say construction of all 10 stadiums has started and construction of most of the stadiums is well ahead of schedule. People have to look just across the road to see the progress." Jordaan was referring to work on the 94 700-seat FNB Stadium, which is expected to host the opening ceremony and match as well as the final match of the World Cup.

Soccer City, the venue for the final, is being upgraded and work is well ahead of schedule.

There are five new stadiums under construction and Jordaan said this posed a big challenge. Yet South Africa would be on record as the first World Cup host country to finish building five stadiums in time for the tournament.

"As we move into the operational phase, the Fifa World Cup and the Confederations Cup match schedules have been finalised. A number of commercial sponsors have been secured and we expect more sponsors to come into the fold. Currently, 98 percent of the broadcast rights have been sold."

State support had been commendable and R17,4-billion had been allocated by the national government to renovate and build new stadiums. In addition, it had assigned R3-billion for support infrastructure around stadiums.

"This is Fifa's World Cup, and there are so many organisations, countries [and] high-profile personalities who have put their weight behind the staging of the event, and we cannot afford to disappoint," Jordaan said.

Tim Modise, the LOC's chief communications and marketing officer, said a number of celebrations had been lined up for Saturday, 15 September to "galvanise South Africans behind the hosting of the tournament".

"The events are a way to inform organisations, institutions and all stakeholders involved in the hosting of the World Cup that we are on course to host a successful World Cup event. This is also an opportunity to give the host cities a chance to say how far they are with preparations."

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