A senior Fifa official gave his seal of approval on Tuesday to South Africa’s preparations for the 2010 Soccer World Cup, playing down concerns about stadium construction after a recent strike.

“I am satisfied with the general preparations,” Fifa general secretary Jerome Valcke said.

“We have an attentive ear on the stadiums. There are places where we pay more attention on stadiums. We have a technical team and a sense of system that allows us to be assured that things will go on as wished,” he added.

Valcke’s comments come after a recent stoppage by construction workers building the new Green Point Stadium in Cape Town, who downed tools for nearly a week in a dispute over travel allowances.

The chairperson of the Fifa local organising committee, Irvin Khoza, told reporters he was also satisfied that all building work was on schedule to be completed by a Fifa-set 2009 deadline.

“Generally, good progress is being made and the organising committee is confident the 2010 Fifa World Cup construction deadlines will be met,” said Khoza.

Khoza, meanwhile, said about 3 000 people, including Fifa officials and journalists, were expected to attend the draw for the World Cup qualifying rounds in the eastern South African city of Durban on November 25.

Ten venues will host the 2010 tournament, which will be the first time that the world’s most popular sporting event has been staged on African soil.

PUBLICATION: Mail & Gaurdian
DATED: 16th October 2007