SA braced for blatter visit

All reports by Ramatsiyi Moholoa

All reports by Ramatsiyi Moholoa

Fifa president Sepp Blatter is visiting South Africa on September 14 on a mission to assess the progress of preparations for the 2009 Confederations Cup and 2010 World Cup.

The highly influential world soccer leader will be accompanied by various Fifa leaders, including general secretary Jerome Valcke.

Blatter will hold meetings with various stakeholders, including President Thabo Mbeki and Makhenkesi Stofile, the minister of sport and recreation.

Mbeki will use the meeting to assure the Fifa delegation that South Africa was well on track to deliver a successful World Cup.

Though the meeting was still to be confirmed at the time of going to press, Blatter is also hoping to meet ANC president Jacob Zuma.

Zuma earlier met Blatter at the Fifa headquarters in February where he pledged the new ANC leadership's full support for the 2010 World Cup.

Sowetan has learnt that Blatter has indicated that he will be happy to meet Nelson Mandela during his week-long visit to personally wish him a happy 90th birthday.

Blatter sent a birthday wish to Madiba in July where he told him that he hoped to meet him during the World Cup.

On his arrival on September 14, Blatter will fly to Cape Town to assess the progress at the new Green Point Stadium.

On September 15, the Fifa president will be taken on a tour of Soccer City, venue for the opening and closing cere- monies of the World Cup.

He will also attend the Local Organising Committee's board meeting on September 16 at Safa House in Johannesburg.