The countdown has begun and pressure is on

The weather was perfect and the mood was festive.

The weather was perfect and the mood was festive.

There was apprehension as the clock slowly inched to 2pm on Saturday. The choir was ready to lead us in singing of the national anthem.

The mayor of Tshwane, Gwen Ramokgopa, was there to lead the proceedings. One of the ambassadors of the Local Organising Committee, Mark Fish, was also in attendance to mark the 1 000 days countdown to the World Cup.

The venue, the lawns of the Union Buildings where the national broadcaster, the SABC, had set up a studio to connect four venues live via television, was ready.

It is quite a mission to broadcast such events. This was the culmination of several weeks of hard work by the various host cities to put on public events where the South African public could be given a comprehensive report about our state of progress in preparations for the World Cup.

Danny Jordaan, the chief executive of the committee, had already declared that we were entering the operational phase of the tournament.

This was the first opportunity for the host cities to account to their local communities and the nation at large about the progress they were making.

There are various things that host cities have to do to be ready for the World Cup.

Some were still in the process of changing names while having to develop their own unique logos and posters.

Besides having to put up infrastructure that supports the delivery of the event, they also have to develop transport systems and security and disaster management capacity.

Added to that they have to prepare for the fan parks as well as decorate and beautify the environment. In the process they have to develop their event management capabilities.

For all of this you need people who are suitably experienced and committed, and there were quite a few people who handled the pressure well.

l Tim Modise is the 2010 World Cup SA Local Organising Committee's head of communications. - For more on 2010 e-mail