50 days to go: we are ready

THE Northern Cape town of Kimberley will come alive today when locals and international dignitaries celebrate the 50 days countdown to the kickoff of the historic 2010 Fifa World Cup.

THE Northern Cape town of Kimberley will come alive today when locals and international dignitaries celebrate the 50 days countdown to the kickoff of the historic 2010 Fifa World Cup.

The provincial government and Sol Plaatjie municipality will host the celebrations that will be attended by President Jacob Zuma.

Zuma is expected to tell the world that South Africa is ready and able to host the quadrennial 32-nation soccer spectacle from June 11 to July 11.

He will also urge South Africans to rally round Bafana Bafana, who are currently in Germany for a three-week training camp as part of their preparations for the World Cup.

Also present will be Sport and Recreation Minister Makhenkesi Stofile, Fifa's Ron Delmont, Local Organising Committee (LOC) chairperson Irvin Khoza, Safa president Kirsten Nematandani and LOC chief executive Danny Jordaan.

The programme starts with a live broadcast by the SABC's Morning Live

This will be followed by a carnival hosted by Northern Cape Tourism and coaching clinics by African soccer legends.

The legends include former Bafana stars Phil "Chippa" Masinga, Doctor Khumalo and Mark Fish as well as Zambian great Kalusha Byalwa, who is also president of the soccer federation in that country.

In the afternoon there will be a sod-turning ceremony for an artificial soccer pitch by First National Bank and the municipality, which will form part of the World Cup legacy projects.

A soccer match will take place between Majimbos and the Northern Cape provincial Under-17 team.

Majimbos, guided by Solly Luvhengo, will also use the match to prepare for Saturday's 2011 African U-17 Championships return qualifier against Namibia. Majimbos won the first leg 3-0 in Windhoek a fortnight ago.

In the evening there will be a gala dinner at the Kimberley Golf Club. Other host cities have programmes for the countdown to kickoff.

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