/ 23 November 2009

Get behind Africa, Jordaan tells 2010 fans

South Africans and Africans must support the continent’s soccer teams during the 2010 World Cup, local organising committee CEO Danny Jordaan said on Monday.

”African teams must be higher up in focus,” he said, speaking in Sandton, Johannesburg, at the media launch of the Fifa fan fest.

”What we found are the teams selling out are England and Brazil. African teams cannot be ranked by Africans so far below other teams,” he said.

The ”fan fests” are public viewing areas aimed at broadening the reach of the 2010 Fifa World Cup. Access is ”mahala” (free), he said.

”This is where we want to carve the real event experience, outside the stadiums.”

More than 18-million fans watched the soccer spectacular at fan parks in Germany in 2006. The parks would be based in each host city and would broaden access to the soccer event. It would enable those unable to secure tickets, or who could not afford them, to watch the matches in a ”festive” atmosphere.

”We have always wanted the 2010 Fifa World Cup to touch the lives of as many South Africans as possible. The Fifa fan fest will provide an opportunity for millions of our people to watch the matches in a festival environment for free, and will also provide an opportunity for small businesses and our musical talents to benefit from this event,” Jordaan said.

There would be fan parks in cities including Rio de Janeiro, Paris, Sydney, Rome, Berlin, London and Mexico City.

In South Africa, venues are the Grand Parade in Cape Town, St George’s Park in Port Elizabeth, New Beach in Durban, the Mangaung Outdoor Sports Centre in Bloemfontein, Bergvlam High School in Nelspruit, the Polokwane Cricket Club, Fields College School in Rustenburg, the Elka Stadium and Innesfree Park in Johannesburg. A Pretoria venue had not been decided on yet.

The fan fests would be organised by local authorities in each city.

Local small businesses could sell arts, crafts and food at the various venues.

”Besides football, all cities will provide tastes and sounds of each of the countries through all-day entertainment programmes outside the actual broadcast of the matches.”

It was difficult to project how many jobs the fan parks would create.

On crowd control, he said: ”… the crowds control themselves … we never experienced difficulties with crowd control in a long time”.

Fifa was in talks with other African cities to set up fan parks. — Sapa