'chiefs are good ambassadors'
Irvin Khoza, the 2010 World Cup Local Organising Committee chairman, yesterday heaped praise on Kaizer Chiefs for helping to advertise South African soccer globally.
Speaking at the 2008 Soccerex opening ceremony at Sandton Convention Centre, Khoza described Chiefs as good ambassadors of the local game.
Amakhosi are making their eighth consecutive appearance at the Soccerex, a soccer convention attended by the who's who of the game and business globally.
Besides Chiefs, other South African Premiership clubs who are exhibiting are Platinum Stars and Mamelodi Sundowns.
Also present at the start of the week-long soccer exhibition was Pallo Jordaan, the minister of arts and culture and Fifa general secretary Jerome Valcke.
Khoza also commended the Gauteng provincial government, who are hosting this event, for bringing it to the country that will host the 2010 World Cup.
"It will certainly help in solidifying this region's stature as one of the pre-eminent football business hubs of the world."
He described Soccerex as an influential platform that has become the biggest gathering of football business in the world.
"It is now 12 years since I was a member of the South African delegation attending the 1996 Soccerex held at Wembley Stadium," he said.
"We had just launched the South African Football Association's bid to host the 2006 Fifa World Cup, and we were looking for a place, an occasion and audience where we would be able to make our case to the right people and create some momentum in our campaign."
Paul Mashatile, Gauteng premier, said last year's Soccerex was beyond their expectations. He credited MEC for sports, arts, culture and recreation Barbara Creecy's department for helping put on a great show.
Mashatile said they were impressed by the interest shown by African countries in Soccerex, because it augurs well for 2010.
l The Diambars Football Academy, which will be built in Ekurhuleni, was launched.