Khoza warns fans

Ramatsiyi Moholoa

Ramatsiyi Moholoa

As part of the ongoing preparations for the 2010 World Cup, the Local Organising Committee has urged supporters to get out of the habit of going to the match venues late.

Irvin Khoza, chairman of the LOC, warned that the games will not be delayed due to the late arrival of supporters.

Khoza delivered the keynote address at the launch of the historic Sowetan Extra Time, a gathering of football administrators, business people and fans, in Sandton last Thursday.

Scotch whisky company The Famous Grouse and are co-partners of this event that will take place throughout the country, especially in the 2010 host cities.

Khoza said: "The most important thing is to come to the matches on time, the problem is that the fans come five minutes before the start of a game.

"Television is very important for the World Cup. If a game starts at 7pm, it will start at that time even if the state president suffers a stroke."

He added: "Football is a game of opinions, we also need to educate the fans about the rules of the game. The same applies to the players.

"As I talk, one of my players [Isaac Chansa] is appearing before a disciplinary committee, players should know the do's and dont's.

"It is important to respect the referees. At Pirates we're using the Ndabas [retired professional referee Sylvester] of this world to educate the players and officials.

"Television is the most powerful medium to assist us in education the supporters."

Khoza urged clubs to be part of the community, sharing their problems, which will also help in recruiting more supporters.

"A club should be part of the community if they want to build a sound supporters' base. The supporters are the spiritual owners of the club."

Khoza said it was important for South Africans to rally behind Bafana Bafana even when the chips are down, at the same time urging players to respect the national jersey.

Khoza said the LOC and Fifa were still talking about how to make tickets more accessible and affordable to Africans.

He challenged South Africans to show the world that the locals have a passion for the game by flocking to the venues where Bafana Bafana were also not playing.

Bongani Keswa, Sowetan publisher, said as the bible of South African soccer, the newspaper was proud to have launched Extra Time.

Elated Neil Hendricks of Famous Grouse said they were honoured to be part of Extra Time. Sports personalities like Leonard Chuene, businessman Moss Leoka and well-known soccer fans Molatelo Malehopo, Saddam Maake and Mzion Mofokeng were among those who attended.