Confed fans: get to the game early!

12 June 2009

With days to go before Sunday’s kickoff of the 2009 Fifa Confederations Cup, South African football fans are urged to be aware of what to expect when they turn up at matches, in order to ensure a positive match-day experience.

Fifa and the 2010 Fifa World Cup Organising Committee South Africa (OC) simulated a match-day experience at Johannesburg’s Coca Cola Park stadium this week in order to test the security and ticketing procedures that will be in place for the tournament.

Ajax Cape Town and Bafana Bafana supporter Gladys Gailey, who attended the simulation, said it was important for fans to follow the instructions of security officials at the stadiums, and not to bring prohibited items into the stadium.

“People must get there early, as they will have to go through many check-points to get to their seat,” Gailey said.

OC chief of security Linda Mti said there would be tight security control of the area surrounding and inside stadiums, with three security points to get through before fans got to their allocated seats.

“The route to the stadium before reaching the first security point will be controlled by the police, who will ensure that nothing that will compromise the safety of the fans or of the match goes on,” Mti said.

“The first point [fans] will get to is referred to as the ‘mag and bag’ area, where everyone will go through a metal detector. The tickets will be checked at this point, and private security as well as volunteers will control this area.

“From here they will go to the turnstiles, where they will have to scan their ticket to validate it”, Mti said. Once through the turnstiles, stewards – making up the third security point – will guide fans to their seat.

The security checks notwithstanding, fans are assured of getting to their seat in time.

“We can process around 45&nbps;000 people per hour which, in the case of Coca Cola Park, is roughly three-quarters of the total number of people who will be there for any particular game,” Mti said.

To help people get to their seats, a colour coding system has been implemented. Fans should follow the signs to the matching colour block on their ticket, which will lead them to their correct area. Stewards will be ready to assist.

Mti said it was critical for fans to get the stadiums at least two hours before matches – and at least three hours before Sunday’s opening game between Bafana Bafana and Asian champions Iraq, which includes the tournament’s opening ceremony.

For Gailey, there was no doubt that there was going to be “a real good vibe … We are going to rock South Africa this June.”

SAinfo reporter and 2010 Fifa World Cup Organising Committee South Africa

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