Gauteng Still Fit for 2010 Soccer World Cup

Preparations for 2010 World Cup include Fan Park, The Johannesburg Soccerex and Opening Game Reserve

Gauteng's preparations for the 2010 Soccer World Cup are underway and offer the province good opportunities, Premier Mbhazima Shilowa said on Monday.

The first phase of refurbishment of the George Thabe, Sinaba and HM Pitje stadiums was finished, Shilowa told the opening of the Gauteng legislature in his state-of-the-province address.

"We plan to complete phase two of Sinaba and HM Pitje stadia by the end of the next financial year and ensure they comply with all the Fifa standards so that they are available for use as practice venues for the tournament."

Fan parks were being developed for watching matches.

"In July this year the concept of fan parks will be piloted when the Mary Fitzgerald Square in Newtown will be turned into a fan park for the Telkom Challenge matches.

"The success of the concept will also allow us to plan for cup final matches featuring Gauteng teams that are played outside of the province."

An integrated 2010 plan for Gauteng is due to be launched at the end of March.

Shilowa said the plan's launch would also be used to tell the private sector about the economic opportunities available.

"The forthcoming Fifa 2010 World Cup holds prospects for us to provide a world class event, while dealing with our priorities such as accelerated economic growth, job creation, poverty alleviation, stadia, road and transport infrastructure, and safety and security."

Gauteng's hosting of SoccerEx, the largest soccer business exhibition in the world, over the next three years would be used to show the province's readiness for 2010.

Shilowa said tourism was up, with 10 percent more foreign tourists in the country last year than two years before. Half of all international tourists visit Gauteng.

Four more visitor orientation centres were planned.

"The new attractions will be located on the R512 close to Lanseria, on the Hendrik Potgieter route to the Sterkfontein Caves and in the Magaliesberg village."

The Dinokeng game reserve would open next month.

Source: Sapa

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