World Cup: 200 days and counting

23 November 2009

Sunday marked the 200-day countdown to the kick-off of the 2010 Fifa World Cup™. For Danny Jordaan, the man at the helm of South Africa’s preparations for the event, it meant a change to the 2010 storyline.

“The storyline is now changing,” the 2010 Organising Committee chief executive said. “The stadiums will be ready, we can see this. The World Cup is about the teams, the coaches and the fans now.

“The storyline has changed from the concrete of the stadiums and the roads to the people and the emotion of the World Cup.

“With 200 days until the party starts, the world will begin to focus on the football – no longer do you hear talk of “plan B” or that the stadiums won’t be ready,” Jordaan said.

With the last remaining teams securing their spot for the World Cup last week, and with Cape Town feverishly preparing to host the Final Draw show on 4 December, the 200-day countdown is certainly a significant one.

“Over the last few months the focus has been on the qualifiers and who will make it to South Africa 2010,” Jordaan said. “From now on, the focus will be on the teams’ preparations for the tournament.

“The stadiums that were once just architectural plans, artists’ impressions and piles of dirt have risen from the ground to become world-class sporting facilities, some of which are already hosting international football matches,” Jordaan said, referring to the match between Japan and South Africa in Nelson Mandela Bay/Port Elizabeth last weekend.

“The airports that will service most of the 450 000 expected foreign visitors during the World Cup are currently being upgraded, with many of them now nearing completion.

“The roads are being worked on extensively, and although they might be an inconvenience at the moment, the end result will be a far easier flow of traffic for 2010 and beyond.”

Jordaan referred to last week’s ceremony at Safa House alongside Soccer City, South Africa’s flagship 2010 stadium, during which representatives of all 32 qualified nations raised their country’s flag.

“If you drive past Safa House today you will see 32 flags along the borders of Soccer City stadium. These flags represent the teams, the hundreds and thousands of fans, and the hopes of nations for the 2010 Fifa World Cup next year.

“This is a sign to us that the World Cup is no longer about getting the stadiums ready; it is about celebrating with people from around the world next year.”

Source: 2010 Fifa World Cup South Africa Organising Committee