Non-hosting cities will also benefit

Ramatsiyi Moholoa

Ramatsiyi Moholoa

Northern Cape may not be hosting any of the 2010 World Cup finals, but the Local Organising Committee plans to help them to also be part of the historic event.

Danny Jordaan, LOC chief executive officer, said they encouraged various cities to upgrade their stadiums with the hope of being used as training facilities.

Jordaan said the use of stadiums in the non-hosting cities will also help leave a 2010 World Cup legacy for the communities, especially in the townships.

With neighbouring Bloemfontein selected as one of the venues for the tournament, the Northern Cape government may as well start upgrading their venues.

Jordaan said they were not only looking at South Africa benefitting, but the whole continent as this will be "an African World Cup".

"We want other African countries to be involved (in the 2010 World Cup) as much as possible, it will be the first time the World Cup will be coming to Africa."

The LOC has asked the world governing soccer body to change its rules, allowing visiting teams to be allowed to set-up training bases in neighbouring countries.

Currently, all the 31 participating teams are required to set up their training base outside the host countries before the tournament.

However, they are expected to move to the host country at least seven days before their opening match and stay there for the duration of the tournament.

This could see countries like Brazil and Portugal set up their training bases in Portuguese-speaking countries like Angola and Mozambique.

Germany could possibly go to Namibia, where the majority of the citizens also speak German, Afrikaans and some Setswana over and above the local languages.

"The plan is to see the fan parks established everywhere, we want everybody to enjoy the World Cup experience," Jordaan said on the issue of fan parks.

He said the LOC were having regular meetings with the host cities to ensure that preparations run smoothly.

"The level of cooperation has been awesome," Jordaan said.

"We have a host city forum, there are monthly meetings and we do not have problems."

Jordaan has also strongly rejected speculation that the majority of Africans would not be able to afford World Cup tickets because they will be expensive.

"It is not true, the tickets for both the 2009 Confederations Cup and 2010 World Cup will be affordable."

The Fifa executive committee are expected to make a decision regarding the price of the tickets at its 2008 congress in May.

Dealing with the legacy project, Jordaan said: "We want the 2010 World Cup to leave an everlasting legacy for our communities.

"The most important thing on the issue of the legacy project will be infrastructure, our stadia and training grounds are going to look great."

On the overall impressions for the 2009 Confederations and World Cup, he said: "So far, so good. We are well on track."

Asked what were the challenges facing the LOC to date, Jordaan said: "The World Cup is a challenging project, starting with the preparations until the final match.

"It will also be important that we work within the set deadlines in terms of the upgrading and building of stadia."

The LOC expects between 350 000 and 450 000 tourists to visit South Africa for the World Cup finals.