Mpumalanga scores from link-up

Ramatsiyi Moholoa

Ramatsiyi Moholoa

Mpumalanga government has formed a partnership with North Rhine Westphalia in Germany to prepare for the 2010 World Cup.

North Rhine Westphalia is a province in Germany.

"We hosted a three-man delegation last week to discuss matters relating to the World Cup," said Jabu Mahlangu, MEC for sports and culture in Mpumalanga.

"We have gone to the Germans because they have experience in terms of hosting the World Cup; they hosted the 2006 tournament.

"It was easy settling for the Germans because as Mpumalanga, we already have a cooperation agreement with them.

"One of the things that we have agreed on is to host an annual international soccer tournament that will involve professional clubs.

"The plan is to have four clubs participating, one each from South Africa, Mozambique, Swaziland and Germany.

"We still have to agree on how we are going to choose the clubs, but an announcement on this matter will be made soon," said Mahlangu.

"The plan is to have the tournament early next year. We also want to use it to promote the 2010 World Cup."

Mahlangu said the Germans will also help them at the the high-performance centre the Mpumalanga provincial government is planning to establish.

"There is an urgent need for us to establish a high-performance centre. The Germans will play a significant role in the soccer aspect of it."

As part of the preparations for the World Cup, Mpumalanga has roped in neighbouring countries Swaziland and Mozambique to be on their technical committee.

A delegation from Mpumalanga, headed by 2010 World Cup deputy director-general Desmond Golding, went to Mozambique three weeks ago to talk about preparations.

They will be going to Swaziland soon on a similar assignment.

"The support we are getting from our brothers and sisters in Swaziland and Mozambique is great. We are happy that they have come on board," said Mahlangu.

"Working together with our neighbouring countries is also in line with our promise to make it an African World Cup."