FIFA organising committee chairperson Irvin Khoza yesterday made an impassioned plea to South Africans to go out in their droves and support the Confederations Cup matches.
This was after Fifa president Sepp Blatter expressed his disappointment that the match between Spain and New Zealand in Rustenburg on Sunday was poorly attended.
"As a marketer par excellence, president Blatter is right that it is not good to see empty seats at the stadiums," said Khoza.
"President Blatter is a partner and he sees a lot of opportunities on South Africa. Therefore, we cannot afford to disappoint.
"There are companies who bought tickets in bulk for their employees and clients, I think the problem is transport.
"We urge those companies to assist people with transport challenges to match venues.
"In Mangaung where Egypt played against Brazil on Monday, president Blatter was worried but I assured him people were still on their way to the stadium from work.
"President Blatter was so happy to see many people inside the stadium as the game progressed.
"We therefore call on all South Africans to support all the games, empty stands at the stadiums do not send a good image OFour country.
"Full stadiums will help market our country and continent as we have made it clear that the 2010 World Cup is for Africa, but hosted by South Africa.
"People must also come early to the stadiums, it was not good to see so many people only coming into the stadium (Ellis Park) towards the end of the opening ceremony," Khoza said.
The organising committee's marketing and communications people are equally to blame for the late arrival of the fans during the opening ceremony.
The emphasis in the past week was more on the game starting at 4pm, but did not mention anything about the ceremony beginning at 2.30pm.
"It was an oversight by our communications and marketing people not to also focus more on the opening ceremony, but we learn from our mistakes," conceded Khoza.