LOC showers praise on Capetonians

The 2010 World Cup Local Organising Committee has showered Cape Town residents with praise for supporting the 89th birthday exhibition match for Nelson Mandela.

The 2010 World Cup Local Organising Committee has showered Cape Town residents with praise for supporting the 89th birthday exhibition match for Nelson Mandela.

Danny Jordaan, LOC chief executive, said yesterday: "We are very happy, there is no doubt that Cape Town has passed the test on Wednesday night.

"The way the people of Cape Town rallied behind the game was quite amazing, it is unusual for Cape Town to get such a good crowd.

"All the players and guests, from Pele, Ruud Gullit, Samuel Eto'o and many others, left here saying they were convinced South Africa is ready for the 2010 World Cup."

But Jordaan lashed out at a handful spectators who invaded the pitch soon after the game between Africa X1 and World X1 ended in a 3-3 draw.

"Those people are out of order despite the fact that they wanted to touch their idols, and we won't tolerate that kind of behaviour," he said.

"The pitch is a holy ground and should be respected. We will definitely ban those supporters for the World Cup if they continue behaving like that."

In a similar match to honour Madiba in Johannesburg in 1999, there were no such incidents of supporters storming the pitch.

The most recent incident where soccer lovers invaded the pitch was when Mamelodi Sundowns went down 2-1 to Spanish giants FC Barcelona last month. But when other top overseas clubs like Manchester United, AC Milan, Tottenham Hotspur, and Brazil's Flamengo visited South Africa, fans behaved.

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