Maradona hits mzansi shores

ARGENTINA soccer coach Diego Maradona will touch down at the OR Tambo International Airport this morning to inspect the facilities ahead of the 2010 World Cup.

ARGENTINA soccer coach Diego Maradona will touch down at the OR Tambo International Airport this morning to inspect the facilities ahead of the 2010 World Cup.

Maradona will be accompanied by a delegation from the Argentina Football Association on a five-team visit here.

This comes after his suspension by Fifa for his foul-mouthed outburst on TV following his country's decisive World Cup qualifier against Uruguay in November.

Maradona's two-month ban by Fifa expired on January 15. In addition to the two-month ban, Maradona was fined R180000 by the Fifa disciplinary committee.

The 49-year-old Argentinian legend has since apologised for his utterances, which were broadcast live on several TV networks.

Argentina will set up their base camp in Tshwane.

In a statement yesterday, the Local Organising Committee said Maradona will not grant media interviews.

Later today in Hatfield, Maradona will have a session with leaders from the soccer school of the Sports Academy at the High Performance Centre.

He will then visit the Lowe Middle School G Rankuwa tomorrow.

The Lowe Middle School represented Argentina at the annual Group of Latin and Caribbean countries football tournament.

On Thursday, Maradona will go to Soccer City, the venue for the opening and closing ceremonies of the World Cup.

He will also visit one of the schools in Soweto.

Argentina are in Group B for the World Cup with Nigeria, Korea Republic and Greece. The South Americans start their campaign against Nigeria in Johannesburg on June 11.

Reigning Fifa Player of the Year Lionel Messi and company will also play at the new Peter Mokaba Stadium against Greece in their last match on June 26.

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