All reports by Ramatsiyi Moholoa
The Gauteng provincial government will launch a new soccer tournament in Johannesburg next month in a build-up to the Soccerex.
Barbara Creecy, MEC for sport, arts, culture and recreation, said the five-a-side tournament will feature 96 community-based clubs throughout the province.
Creecy said the South African Football Association's structures in Gauteng, Sportsman Group of companies, our sister paper Sunday Times and Puma were also involved.
"The tournament culminates on the eve of the Soccerex with the finals serving as a curtainraiser to the game between African and European legends at Mandela Square (in Sandton) on November 25.
"The five-a-side tournament will contribute to developing young talent among both men and women, it will also enhance our project to building the love of football among the youth."
Creecy said they were pleased with the preparations for Soccerex, which will also be attended by various soccer leaders, including Fifa president Sepp Blatter.
Blatter, who will also be in South Africa at that time for the 2010 World Cup preliminary draw in Durban, will be accompanied by Fifa general secretary Jerome Valcke.
"Working closely with our partners, we will ensure that the Soccerex is a successful event for both our province and country," said Creecy.
"In the run up to hosting the 2010 World Cup, Gauteng will play a leading role in hosting the 2009 Confederations Cup.
"During the 2010 World Cup, Gauteng will play host to a number of qualifying matches, a quarterfinal and the final. The Soccerex will contribute enormously to our economy through job creation and to the development of our football as it will afford us networking opportunities.
"It will also afford is the opportunity to learn and share experiences and skills with top international sports personalities and businesspeople.
"This event is an important milestone in building Gauteng as a premier destination for competitive sport, tourism and investment.
"It will bring football associations, clubs, football legends, businesses, media and businesspeople from all over the world to Gauteng from 2007 to 2009 and will also boost sustainability of our sport and tourism industries beyond 2010."