Fifa ended its three-day inspection tour of South Africa on Wednesday praising the progress made in building the stadiums that will be used for the 2010 Soccer World Cup.

The governing body of world soccer, joined by South African organisers, visited four of the nine host cities to assess the stadiums in Johannesburg, the site of the opening and final match, as well as Cape Town, Durban and Port Elizabeth.

The delegation also received progress reports on accommodation, finance and transport.

“We were able to see signs of huge transformation in the host cities. The task ahead is a big one and we admire the ambition and efforts in the host cities to make 2010 a successful event,” said Alain Leiblang, Fifa’s head of media.

There have been concerns about the country’s high crime rate and poor transport system, as well as the pace of stadium construction.

“We are quite happy that the programme is on track. What we set out to do with this inspection tour, we achieved,” local organising committee representative Dennis Mumble said in a statement.

“There are challenges and adjustments that need to be made, but that’s the reason for tours such as this, to address those.”

The full evaluation report will be presented at a meeting on Tuesday.

PUBLICATION: Mail & Gaurdian
DATED: 11th October 2007