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Shilowa invites decision makers to come to SA for SoccerEx 2007

By unknown | May 11, 2007 | COMMENTS [ 0 ]

Address by Gauteng Premier Mbhazima Shilowa at the SoccerEx London Forum:

Address by Gauteng Premier Mbhazima Shilowa at the SoccerEx London Forum:

In six months' time you, the decision-makers in the world of football, will be converging on Gauteng, the economic heartland of South Africa, for SoccerEx 2007. You will return for two years thereafter to learn, network and do business.

SoccerEx in Gauteng is significant in that it will offer you an opportunity to learn about the football market in South Africa and Africa.

Considering that South Africa will be hosting the Fifa World Cup in 2010, this market will increasingly become relevant to football business in the run-up to the World Cup tournament and beyond.

SoccerEx in Gauteng is therefore an ideal opportunity for all of you who are involved in the business of football to maximise business opportunities ahead of the World Cup, to learn what is it that South Africa is doing in preparation for hosting the most successful 2010 soccer spectacle while continuing to be a place for the football industry to network and do business.

For us - as a province that will be hosting the opening match, a quarterfinal and the final match - we understand that the world focus will be firmly on us.

We are the home of the Fifa headquarters, the main port of entry into our country and we have three of the 10 stadia being prepared to host World Cup football games.

We therefore see SoccerEx as an opportunity for our football administrators and decision-makers to be exposed to best practices from around the world.

This is also a platform to strengthen the development of football in our country and continent.

For us, SoccerEx and the World Cup offer an opportunity to position Gauteng as a globally competitive city region, to promote tourism into the province.

When you arrive in Gauteng in November you will be able to witness for yourselves what we mean when we say we regard the 2010 tournament not as an event but an opportunity for long-term sustainable development and to build a lasting legacy for our people.

From when you get off your aeroplanes, you will be able to see that our airport is undergoing a major upgrade. This is part of our efforts to build a world-class public transport [system] that has a high-speed train, the Gautrain, as its core.

We are also using this opportunity to more vigorously focus on the provision of social and economic infrastructure, to improve safety on our roads, to reduce crime, to promote tourism, to create employment and reduce levels of poverty among our people.

Our province is beginning to resemble a big construction site as we vigorously prepare for the World Cup. The upgrading of our three match venues, namely Loftus Versfeld, Soccer City and Ellis Park, has started.

In addition to these we are upgrading and rebuilding six other stadia (HM Pitje, George Thabe, Sinaba, Rand, Orlando and Dobsonville) as possible practice venues that comply with Fifa standards.

Our people are passionate about football. They love it and this is the legacy they expect because they will continue to use these facilities long after the World Cup tournament.

We are ready to give the world the best World Cup tournament. We have the will and capacity to finish our preparations on time. Remember, it is South Africa's expertise that built the internationally renowned Burj Al Arab hotel in Dubai and Hong Kong International Airport in China.

Gauteng is ready to make South Africa win with the whole of Africa. As the president has often said: Africa's time has come! I thank you.


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