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Premier Soccer League club Free State Stars have congratulated the Gauteng provincial government for bringing soccer exhibition Soccerex to South Africa.
Soccerex will take place in Johannesburg yearly until 2010 when South Africa will be hosting the money-spinning World Cup.
The inaugural event took place in Sandton last week and was attended by Fifa president Sepp Blatter and other top dogs in soccer globally.
Soccerex, which attracts soccer bosses, leading local and international clubs and various business people, will inject more than R7 million into the economy of Gauteng.
"It was an eye opener for many of us who thought we know a lot about the business of soccer," said Rantsi Mokoena, Stars' brand manager.
"Let me confess by saying some of us are a good 30 years behind in terms of technology, as compared to our counterparts in Europe, Asia and the United States of America.
"We saw some of the equipment that drove me crazy. There was an international company with state-of-the-art gymnasium equipment. That equipment tells you which part of the body you should put more emphasis on when you work. It also tells you about the time frame for your injury to recover.
"There was an expert who deals with branding for clubs. We are planning to contact him next year to help us in terms of repositioning Stars."
Mokoena, accompanied by club public relations officer Louis Tshakoane, said they also met an accredited soccer agent who promised to organise international tournaments.
"We had a lengthy discussion with him, he was very happy to have met us and promised to bring some of the European clubs to Free State for tournaments.
"I must say workshops were impressive in terms of how to approach sponsors and drawing up a business plan.
"We also visited various stands, but the one owned by Kaizer Chiefs was great. I think it is largely due to the fact they have been attending the Soccerex in Dubai. Their stand was not different from the one by European giants," added Mokoena.
Other clubs present included Orlando Pirates, Jomo Cosmos, Mamelodi Sundowns and Black Leopards. Sundowns used the opportunity to line up international friendlies against Real Madrid, Chelsea, Liverpool, Marseille and Roma in the near future.
Afzal Khan, Sundowns' executive director, said: "Soccerex gave us this opportunity and we are looking at ways of taking advantage of hosting the expo."
Lidoda Duvha and the Limpopo Tourism Board also hope to lure top clubs in the world to tour the province for their pre-season preparations.
Tshifhiwa Thidiela, Leopards' brand manager, said the Soccerrex was a great platform for the Premiership club to market themselves.
Barbara Creecy, Gauteng MEC for sports, arts, culture and recreation, said they were using Soccerex to showcase South Africa's readiness for the World Cup.