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TOP local soccer fans have hailed Fifa's decision to introduce over-the-counter ticket sales for the 2010 World Cup as a step in the right direction.
They say the move will ensure that matches are played in front of capacity crowds.
Fifa and the Local Organising Committee (LOC) on Friday launched the over-the-counter ticket sales at Maponya mall in Soweto.
The tickets will be made available to the general public from Thursday.
Freddy "Saddam" Maake, a leading Kaizer Chiefs supporter, said: "We would like to congratulate Fifa for introducing the over-the-counter sales to ensure ordinary South Africans have access to the tickets."
Maake said local fans had initially raised concern that credit cards and Internet-based sales would disadvantage people who had no access to these facilities.
His sentiments were echoed by Botha Msila, the popular Bloemfontein Celtic fan.
"We have heard that there are 500000 tickets remaining and I can tell you the 2010 World Cup tickets will be sold out in two weeks' time," said Msila.
"This method is the only one that the majority of our people are used to."
Other notable fans who commended Fifa for the new method of ticket sales included Johannes "Mzion" Mofokeng and Gladys Bailey.
Speaking at the launch in Soweto, Fifa secretary-general Jerome Valcke said the football governing body had introduced various means to buy tickets in a bid to assist fans.
LOC chief executive Danny Jordaan also said he believed this measure was consistent with the needs of soccer lovers in the country.
The over-the-counter ticket sales centres will be available in all host cities.