'Soccerex boosts local economy'

The annual Soccerex exhibition provides an impetus to the further development of the sport sector of the economy in Gauteng and on the African continent.

The annual Soccerex exhibition provides an impetus to the further development of the sport sector of the economy in Gauteng and on the African continent.

According to Barbara Creecy, MEC for sports, arts, culture and recreation, Soccerex will assist them understand the soccer business.

"We also see it as an opportunity to showcase Gauteng's competitive advantages on the international stage for the three years ahead of the 2010 World Cup."

Creecy pointed out that they will also use Soccerex as an ideal destination for investment, tourism, sporting and other major events.

"We estimated that the hosting of Soccerex over three years would indirectly inject more than R5 billion into the Gauteng economy and contribute massively to job creation."

She added that they wanted local soccer structures to take advantage of Soccerex Gauteng to develop and grow their business.

Duncan Revie, Soccerex boss, said: "Soccerex returns for the second successive year in Gauteng. The second event will be bigger and better, which bodes well for the 2010 Fifa World Cup."

Revie added that Soccerex will build a multi-purpose community sport centre at Mapetla Grounds in Soweto, a facility that will reflect the history of SA soccer.

He said they wanted the centre to be named after Albert Johanneson, the first South African to play in the English Premiership for Leeds United.

Johanneson, also known as "Hurry Hurry", was from Germiston. He was a popular star - both at the old Germiston "location", Dukathole, and Natalspruit, which was later renamed Katlehong - in the same vein as the likes of Differ Mbanya, Steve "Kalamazoo" Mokone, Eric "Scara" Sono and Cedric "Sugar Ray" Xulu.

Johanneson was therefore also one of those players who were wildly spoken of in South Africa in the 1950s and 1960s.

"It will be nice to name the park in his (Johanneson) memory," said Revie, who also announced that MATCH, TBFD and Avusa Media were on board as partners.

Mandla Mdlalose, City of Johannesburg's acting director of sport, said: "The name (Albert Johanneson) is interesting. But there are processes that we have to follow in the city."

Unicef chief educator in South Africa, Nadi Albino, commended Soccerex for allowing them to use this event to raise funds for their community projects.

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