23 January 2009
South Africa’s preparations for the 500-day countdown to the opening of the 2010 Fifa World Cup are well under way, with a wide range of activities taking place across the country, and a main event scheduled for the Mangaung Outdoor Sports Centre in Bloemfontein on Monday.
“Monday next week will be exactly 500 days to go to the world’s biggest sporting spectacle, watched by a cumulative audience of more than 26-billion spectators worldwide, and South Africa’s preparations are in overdrive,” the 2010 Local Organising Committee said in a statement this week.
A media conference will be held in Johannesburg, and will be attended by Fifa secretary general Jerome Valcke, LOC chairman Irvin Khoza and LOC chief executive Danny Jordaan.
They will talk about the achievements made since South Africa was awarded the right to host the event five years ago, as well as the remaining milestones leading up to the tournament’s kick-off on 11 June 2010 at the Soccer City Stadium to the south of Johannesburg.
Host city posters
The mayors from all nine host cities, as well as Provincial and Local Government Minister Sicelo Shiceka, will be at the sports centre in Bloemfontein, where they will officially unveil their respective host city posters.
To kick-off the day’s activities, delegates from the Italian Embassy, together with 2010 ambassadors Mark Fish and Philemon Masinga, will visit two schools in the area as part of the 2010 “Adopt-a-Nation” schools campaign, which will be followed by a mini schools football tournament.
Ahead of the countdown, the Ekurhuleni Metropolitan Municipality will mark the day by holding a street parade and a fun walk in the streets of KwaThema, Tsakane and Duduza, before culminating in a massive celebration at the KwaThema Stadium this Sunday.
The event is expected to several senior officials, including Gauteng provincial sports minister Barbara Creecy and Ekurhuleni executive mayor Ntombi Mekgwe, as well as local councillors, community leaders, soccer veterans and members of the public in general.