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14 May 2008 15:37
The South African economy could see a turnover in excess of R40-billion during the Soccer World Cup finals, which kick off at the new Soccer City in Johannesburg in June 2010.
In an interview on Wednesday, chairperson of the 2010 local organising committee Irvin Khoza was upbeat that South Africa will host the best World Cup in history.
Khoza said every detail and preparation were on track.
Said Khoza: “It was exactly four years ago we won the right to host the greatest soccer event on the planet. It was a day in Zurich, Switzerland, that will stay in my mind for the rest of my life, when the Fifa president [Sepp Blatter] pulled South Africa’s name out as the bid winner.
“What a day, not just for South Africa, but Africa, as this will be the first World Cup on our continent.
“We will show the world how well we can organise a World Cup.”
Khoza was almost drowned by papers and files in his “to-do” tray during the interview with the South African Press Association.
But hard work has never scared Khoza, who rose from secretary of Orlando Pirates two decades ago to club chairperson and one of the most powerful sports officials in the land.
He is also chairperson of the Premier Soccer League and vice-president of the South African Football Association.
He appealed to the public: “We must show these visitors, who will be influential people such as stock brokers, bankers and CEOs of companies, that we are good hosts.”
In other words, South Africa must show good customer relations to those visitors who will spend an estimated R40-billion during the month-long showpiece.
Said Khoza: “The human factor is vital to the success of the 2010 World Cup. We need to show the world we are a happy people and worth visiting again.
“Our tourism record is tops but we can do even more by showing patience and goodwill to our guests, and encouraging them to return on a longer holiday in the near future.”
Khoza said the building and renovating of stadiums were on track, as were the upgrading of roads, airports and hotels.
“It is not just about individual reputations, it is about showing the world what a beautiful country we have and the possibilities we offer tourists.
“We have all worked extremely hard and, believe me, it is a labour of love and all we ask is for South Africa to embrace our visitors and show them true South African hospitality.”—Sapa
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