stadiums a huge challenge

The construction of new and upgrading of existing stadiums has been described as one of the major challenges facing the 2010 World Cup Local Organising Committee as they step up their final preparations for the 2009 Confederations Cup.

This is according to Danny Jordaan, chief executive of the LOC.

The Confederations Cup, which will feature eight continental champions and reigning world kings Italy, is used by world soccer governing body Fifa as a dress rehearsal for the World Cup. The eight countries are divided into two streams of four each.

"We need to make sure that we remain on track in terms of all the deadlines. The Confederations Cup in June next year is the first real competition for us, so it is important that we deliver the venues for the tournament on time," said Jordaan.

"We have already started moving into operations now that a tremendous amount of work has been done on site at all the venues for the matches. We have been doing a lot of talking, now it's time to start the process of delivery.

"I will also be closely monitoring the process to prepare for both the Confederations Cup and World Cup."

Five venues - Nelson Mandela Bay in Port Elizabeth, Free State (Bloemfontein), Ellis Park (Johannesburg), Royal Bafokeng Sports Palace (Rustenburg) and Loftus (Tshwane) - will be used for the Confederations Cup.

Jordaan said the LOC would soon appoint venue managers as part of their delivery process.

"We are going to start with the appointment of venue managers of the stadiums that will be used for the Confederations Cup, the appointment of those who will be in charge of the World Cup venues will be done at a later stage.

"At the same time, we will also be appointing media managers of the five Confederations Cup venues to deal with the promotion and branding of the activities in their own areas. They will also handle issues relating to media inquiries."

On Bafana Bafana's early exit from Africa Cup of Nations in Ghana, Jordaan said the team might have not won the tournament but he was quick to point out that there was light at the end of the tunnel in their preparations for the World Cup.

"I was impressed by Tsepo Masilela and Bryce Moon on the left and right flanks at the back, they reminded me of the era of Sizwe Motaung and David Nyathi. Teko Modise was also really good too, despite the unfair criticism by (former coach) Clemence Westerhoff on television.

"Terror Fanteni has also shown some great performances, the same applies to Simphiwe Tshabalala, Elrio van Heerden. There is no doubt that the youngsters we had in Ghana played very well"