The South African economy could see a turnover in excess of R40-billion during the World Cup finals, which kick off at the new Soccer City in Joburg in June 2010.

Irvin Khoza, chairperson of the 2010 local organising committee, is upbeat that SA will host the best World Cup in history.

In an interview with Sapa yesterday, Khoza said all the preparations were on track.

“It was exactly four years ag o that we won the right to host the greatest soccer event on the planet. It was a day in Zurich that will stay in my mind for the rest of my life when Fifa’s president (Sepp Blatter) pulled South Africa’s name out as the bid winner.

“What a day, not just for South Africa, but Africa, as this will be the first World Cup on our continent. We will show the world how well we can organise a World Cup.”

Khoza was almost drowned by paper and files in his “to do” tray during the interview.

But hard work has never scared Khoza, who rose from being secretary of Orlando Pirates two decades ago to club chairperson, and one of the most powerful sports officials in the land. He is also chairperson of the Premier Soccer League and vice-president of the SA Football Association.

Khoza said around 500 000 fans were expected to watch the first African World Cup finals in SA.

He appealed to the public: “We must show these visitors, who will be influential people such as stockbrokers, bankers and CEOs of companies, that we are good hosts.”

In other words, SA must show good customer relations to those visitors who will spend an estimated R40-billion during the month-long showpiece.

Khoza added: “The human factor is vital to the success of the 2010 World Cup. We need to show the world we are a happy people and worth visiting again. Our tourism record is tops, but we can do even more by showing patience and goodwill to our guests and encourage them to return on a longer holiday in the near future.

“It is not just about individual reputations; it is about showing the world what a beautiful country we have and the possibilities we offer tourists.

“We have all worked extremely hard and, believe me, it is a labour of love, and all we ask is for South Africa to embrace our visitors and show them true South African hospitality.”

PUBLICATION: The Star
DATED: 15th May 2008