ON SEPTEMBER 15 there will be just 1000 days until the opening match of the 2010 Fifa World Cup in Johannesburg and, as the excitement mounts around the country, the Local Organising Committee remains ahead of schedule.

Much remains to be done, but there is absolutely no doubt that we remain firmly on course to stage a memorable tournament that will delight the world and enhance the standing of our continent.

As I travel up and down the country, I am constantly impressed by the personal commitment of so many South Africans in so many different fields to ensure the event is a great success. It is this shared national determination that will ultimately prevail.

Progress is perhaps most visible in the construction of the six new stadiums around the country and, from my office at the new Safa House, I can watch the new FNB Stadium take shape. The showpiece venue, which will accommodate 94000 spectators at both the opening match and at the Fifa World Cup final, is scheduled to be completed in October 2009, but is running well ahead of schedule.

Similarly, the construction projects in Polokwane, Nelspruit and Durban are on course to be completed ahead of their scheduled delivery dates at the end of 2008.

We are aware, through our rigorous oversight systems, that the deadlines are particularly tight in Port Elizabeth and Cape Town, and plans have been laid to catch up on lost time.

The challenge in Port Elizabeth is to ensure the new stadium is finished in October 2008, and therefore ready to host matches during the Fifa Confederations Cup in 2009.

Various well-publicised delays have held up work at the new Green Point stadium in Cape Town, but there is no doubt the proposed semifinal venue will eventually be completed on time.

Beyond the stadiums, Fifa, the Local Organising Committee and the government are working together closely to ensure the effective and timely delivery of systems and structures in every field, ranging from IT to transport, from accommodation to security.

I am repeatedly told that SA 2010 is considerably more advanced than Germany 2006, South Korea and Japan 2002 or France 1998 were at the same stage.

We have worked hard to get ahead of schedule, and our clear determination is to remain ahead.

Jordaan is CEO of the SA 2010 Local Organising Committee

PUBLICATION: Johnnic Communications
AUTHOR: Michelle Leon
DATED: 26th August 2007