New operations chief a step in right direction

The Organising Committee of the 2010 World Cup is intensifying its preparations and this week welcomed the new chief operating officer into the fold.

The Organising Committee of the 2010 World Cup is intensifying its preparations and this week welcomed the new chief operating officer into the fold.

After a long and protracted search that whittled down candidates from 80 to three, Nomfanelo Magwentshu was finally decided upon as the new COO of the World Cup.

One of the more pleasing reasons for her appointment, even above her obvious competencies, is the fact she is now going to be most senior woman official in football in the country.

This will help give added impetus to the focus on and growth of the involvement of women in football, as evidenced by the successful hosting of the women's World Cup in China.

As I write, there already are a substantial number of competent and influential women involved at various levels in the preparations for the World Cup in 2010.

Some run their own departments and programmes in the organising committee, yet others run host city preparations.

And man, these women are highly motivated, highly professional and would give most veteran male sports and event management professionals a run for their money.

I believe the involvement of women in the project is an important dimension, in that it will help keep all of us focused and sensitive to the legacy or developmental aspects of the hosting of the World Cup.

As I said earlier, it was wonderful to watch the football from Shanghai, especially the final between Germany and Brazil on Sunday. This match, won by Germany for the second time, reminded me of the sizable number of women spectators and television audiences.

On the home front you only need to look at the involvement of the supporters of Bloemfontein Celtic.

The World Cup television audience is calculated at more than 26 billion worldwide during the tournament and the number is expected to increase to over 30 billion during the 2010 tournament.

These numbers are expected to swell because of the popularity of the tournament and new elements that are added to it, as well as the addition of new technology such as the delivery of TV via cellphones.

This means the provision of technology and telecommunications infrastructure in the country has to be of the highest quality and affordable. This is a challenge to those who will be setting up the International Broadcast Centre and those who are involved in the IT and telecommunications sectors.

The successful delivery of the IBC and excellent IT solutions in the World Cup should extend benefits to the rest of the country via the introduction of the new high-definition TV and the expansion of broadband, and thus cheaper internet access.

We will get a taste of things to come when we host the preliminary draw in Durban in November where some of the new technology will be used for the first time.

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