WITH just three days to go before the World Cup kicks off, more than 60 taxis in Polokwane, Limpopo, were yesterday pasted with stickers authorising them to shuttle soccer fans from park-and-ride spots to the Peter Mokaba Stadium.

Taxi driver Abram Thema of Boyne outside the city was the first to have his vehicle pasted with side stickers.

"I feel honoured to be number one in line and just pray the owner will assign me to ferry fans on match days."

Solly Ledwaba, deputy chairperson of the Capricorn Taxi Council, said 408 vehicles will have been branded by the time the Algeria-Slovenia game starts on Sunday.

According to roads and transport MEC Pinkie Kekana R25million has been set aside to pay taxi operators for transporting fans to various public viewing areas in all five districts of the province.

Kekana warned last month that only taxis that were recapitalisation compliant, met safety requirements and had no traffic offences, would be considered for the move.

But, Ruben Thaba, secretary of Limpopo Concerned Taxi Organisation, criticised Kekana for linking the Fifa tournament with taxi recapitalisation.

"It is a ploy to divide taxi operators because the department know very well that we still have issues to discuss with them regarding our permits and operations. In the meantime, they are slapping our vehicles with traffic tickets and even impounding others at roadblocks," Thaba said.