2010 World Cup – Proving the Doom Mongers wrong from Green Point to Moses Mabhida…

From the much publicized draw in  December 2009 held last year at a glittering ceremony at the Cape Town International Convention Centre, with celebrities like South African born, Hollywood actress Charlize Theron, English and Real Madrid Football player David Beckham in attendance, the 2010 World Cup Fever started to build up. The countdown although initiated from the announcement back in 2004 that South Africa was the host country now seems real; a closing distance to the event horizon is fast gaining a fantastic momentum.

Now with just over a month to go that excitement of dwindling days to kickoff is palpable from the print and electronic media, not to mention billboards, advertising and general euphoria sweeping the rainbow nation from Cape Town to Durban, from Port Elizabeth to Polokwane. Initial Tourism figures earlier this year predicted lower than expected international visitors and ticket sales. All that has changed with the majority of the tickets being sold out with 40 out of the 64 Games being sold out. This was all boosted by allowing South Africans to buy tickets at ticket outlets across the host country with special emphasis placed on centres in the major host cities.

The initial method of FIFA only allowing World Cup tickets to be purchased on the Internet proved difficult for local fans and did not yield expected sales in a first to third world developing internet economy like South Africa. So as of the 15th April ticket centers were opened allowing the ordinary citizens to purchase tickets proving this system more successful in developing countries like South Africa as opposed to the more advanced internet-based ticketing options available in Europe and America. This valuable marketing technique of tangible over the counter sales will definitely be the way to go for the next World Cup in Brazil in 2014. The more prolific games featuring the top European and South American teams such as England, Brazil, Portugal, Germany, Argentina and France are almost sold out.

So the stadiums are ready, the remaining World Cup tickets are going fast, the hype is building for one of the greatest sporting events on earth, and despite the many doom mongers, South Africa is ready to host the 2010 FIFA World Cup. The Infrastructure is being upgraded across the country from the Highways and Stadiums to the Beachfront in Durban and Cape Town, from the Bus Rapid Transport system to the new Airports being upgraded and the newly opened King Shaka International Airport 30 kms north of Durban offering direct flights to Dubai and from there to India, the Far East and the World effective from 1st May. The O. R. Tambo airport in Johannesburg has recently completed renovations and Cape Town International is on the ball and ready to welcome the world with an upgraded International and Domestic arrivals Hall.

Despite the media reports about crime, the country not being ready on time for the event, the average South African believes that the Event will be a huge success especially since it is the first time that the FIFA World Cup has been played on the African Continent. There is a firm commitment from the Minister of Police about the safety of visitors at the Event of this magnitude at all stadia across the nation. With the success of this massive Event a guarantee, the South African government hopes to bid for other high-profile events whether it be Johannesburg hosting the Olympic Games in 2020 or attracting the likes of Formula One to boost the infrastructure of Kyalami by making that racetrack on the Highveld a destination to rival the Yas Marina circuit in Abu Dhabi, the latest addition to the F1 International circuit. After all despite any negative publicity, South Africa remains the economic powerhouse of the sub-Saharan Africa much like Brazil remains the cornerstone of economic growth in South America and the United Arab Emirates is a similar growth point in the Arabian Gulf region.

When amidst much hype, FIFA announced in 2004 that the next World Cup would be held in South Africa in 2010, the countdown began along with the anticipation and the excitement. Planning committees were put in place, government departments mobilized, the international media started to follow the progress of South Africa as it made the preparations for this World Event. The 9 host cities were identified as Johannesburg, Pretoria, Cape Town, Durban, Port Elizabeth, Rustenburg, Polokwane, Nelspruit and Bloemfontein. Stadiums in each city were either renovated to match FIFA standards or newly built as in the spectacular Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban, a moment’s stroll from the vast sparkling Indian Ocean. Soccer City in Johannesburg has been renovated and the surrounding area upgraded while in Cape Town Greenpoint Stadium is completed perched on the edge of the Atlantic Ocean in a prime urban location. The smaller cities have also had their stadiums upgraded or built from scratch with Port Elizabeth, Nelspruit and Polokwane receiving newly acquired arenas. With 5 new stadiums in Port Elizabeth, Durban, Polokwane, Cape Town and Nelspruit having been built and 5 of the existing stadiums upgraded to international Football hosting capacities, all is set for a spectacular event.

World Cup fever has gripped the country from the advertisements to the shopping malls draped with all the participating countries flags. Even at the coffee shops in the major cities- waiters are serving customers in Soccer Jerseys. TV presenters have Football Fridays with everyone from the anchorman to the weatherman dressed in Soccer Jerseys. Controversial Vuvuzela’s, the long yellow loud and decorated air horns are synonymous with Football Fever and the sound of South Africa. Let the Soccer World Cup begin for the first time on African soil and prove the skeptics wrong It is here in Africa and soon the world will feel it!

http://www.acsa.co.za/home.asp?pid=228 – OR Tambo Airport

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