2010 critics silenced once and for all

TWO events in two of the furthest cities from each other in South Africa ensured that we were well on course to hosting the biggest showpiece in June.

The opening of the Peter Mokaba Stadium in Polokwane and the Greenpoint Stadium in Cape Town can only go on to silence the critics and doubting Thomases.

The two world-class facilities, which will host a combined 12 matches during the Fifa 2010 World Cup, are a sign that we are ready for the task ahead.

It's a long way from the artists' impressions of the stadiums in 2006. Almost eight World Cup stadiums are ready to host the games - only the Mbombela Stadium in Mpumalanga and the calabash (Soccer City) are going through some final touches.

The biggest challenge for us is to ensure these facilities are viable after the tournament, and to ensure football benefits more from such legacies.

It's all good and well to have such grounds for the tournament, but it's after the dust has settled that we have to really enjoy these facilities.

The Nelson Mandela Bay, Polokwane and the Mbombela stadiums will be the trickier of the whole lot to maintain as there is not much top-flight soccer in these areas to utilise the facilities after the games.

It's up to soccer administrators in those provinces to ensure that they get a team in the top echelons of local football in order for the game to benefit.

Otherwise, other sporting codes stand to cream it more than soccer from the legacy of the World Cup.

I have no doubt the country is ready to host the biggest sporting event in the world.

Kiekie Mboweni, NkowaNkowa