Three of the leading role players again gave 2010 FIFA World Cup preparations a two-thumbs up on Friday.

Local Organising Committee chief executive Danny Jordaan, Minister of Sport and Recreation Makhenkesi Stofile and Minister of Tourism Marthinus van Schalkwyk assured media everything was on track after a meeting of the Legacy Committee, tasked to ensure South Africa continues to benefit from the global showpiece long after the tournament has concluded.

Stofile congratulated everyone involved in the success of last month’s Confederations Cup, but added that all would have to “do even better next year” for the larger scale global tournament.

He said the main focus was to prepare the 15,000 volunteers needed during the competition.

“The volunteers are the cutting edge of the World Cup,” Stofile said.

“They are the first people tourists will see when they arrive in the country and when they get to hotels and stadiums.”

Jordaan confirmed that they would have no trouble finding the number of volunteers needed.

“By this morning we had 11,700 applications and we’re looking for 15,000. Next week we will surpass that number,” he said.

“For the Confederations Cup we needed 4000 and we got 40,000 applications. If it keeps going like this, we should get more than that for the World Cup.”

And Van Schalkwyk said that while South African tourism would suffer from the ongoing economic crisis, the tournament would ensure the country did “better than the global average” in 2010.

He also assured that there would be enough accommodation for tourists, even if it meant using long distance “satellite” transport systems to and from stadiums, and that airports would manage the expected high capacities, even in smaller areas like Bloemfontein and Polokwane.

Visitors should also understand, Van Schalkwyk added, that South Africa’s tourism industry would be in “high season” during next year’s tournament, but tourists would not be robbed by inflated prices.

“We will guard our value as a value for money destination,” he said.

DATED: 24th July 2009