Khoza to reassure visitors SA IS SAFE

LOCAL Organising Committee chairperson Irvin Khoza will use the 2010 Fifa World Cup team workshop in Sun City this morning to assure people across the globe that they will be safe in South Africa during the World Cup.

Khoza will welcome representatives of the 32 countries who will take in the first World Cup to be played on African soil since its inception just over 100 years ago. He will also deal with issues relating to security and South Africa's readiness for the tournament.

Only 19 of the 32 coaches are attending the workshop, which began yesterday.

The 10 venues that will be used for the World Cup matches have either been built from scratch or upgraded for the highly anticipated showpiece.

Soccer City, the venue for the opening and closing ceremonies, will be officially opened next month when the builders will hand the facility over to the City of Johannesburg.

Johannesburg's 2010 World Cup directorate, headed by Sibongile Mazibuko, and the stadium's managing company have plans to stage four or five test matches at the venue ahead of the tournament, as per Fifa's requirements.

Khoza will once more appeal to South Africans to embrace the Cup and buy tickets in large numbers to ensure that all the games featuring the other five African teams are played at packed stadiums.

Besides Bafana Bafana, the other teams who will represent the continent in the tournament are Ghana, Nigeria, Cameroon, Ivory Coast and Algeria.

The three-day conference will be opened by Confederation of African Football president Issa Hayatou, who is also the convenor of the Fifa 2010 World Cup Organising Committee.

Echoing Fifa president Sepp Blatter, Hayatou has repeatedly praised South Africa for being well on track with its preparations, saying it will be "a truly wonderful African World Cup".

Fifa general secretary Jerome Valcke will address the representatives of the 32 teams who have qualified for the tournament on South Africa's overall preparations for the Cup.

Police deputy commissioner André Pruis will also speak.