Japan learning curve for officials

Steve Pila and Russell Paul are among the four South Africans who are in Japan on a learning curve for the 2009 Fifa World Club Championships.

Steve Pila and Russell Paul are among the four South Africans who are in Japan on a learning curve for the 2009 Fifa World Club Championships.

"It is true that we are here in Japan on the ticket of Fifa, it's a big tournament that we are all looking forward to," said Pila yesterday.

Pila, who is the Local Organising Committee competitions manager, is in Asia as venue assistant general coordinator at Toyota Stadium.

Paul, a former South African Football Association referees' committee convenor, is doing the same job at Yokohama Stadium.

"What we are doing here is to coordinate official activities at the venues, pre-match meetings and arrival of participating teams," explained Pila. "It will help us a lot as there will also be venue coordinators in the 2009 Confederations Cup and 2010 World Cup.

"We [the LOC] have been sending our administrators to various competitions across the globe as a learning curve ahead of the Confederations Cup and World Cup."

The other two South Africans in Japan are LOC media officer Jermaine Craig and Adam Brooke from the Fifa South African office. Brooke is the venue assistant general coordinator of Tokyo Stadium, while Craig is one of the media officers of the tournament.

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