With the FIFA 2010 World Cup drawing nearer, the Local Organising Committee on Tuesday assured MPs that construction of soccer stadiums was well on schedule.

Briefing the Sports and Recreation National Assembly Committee, 2010 FIFA World Cup LOC technical head Moira Tlagale said construction work in four of the ten stadiums currently being built would be completed in December, well ahead of the 2009 African Confederation Cup kick off.

“The only stadium that will not be completed by the December 2008 deadline is the Nelson Mandela Bay in Port Elizabeth,” she said.

However, the stadium would be ready by March, three months before the commencement of the African Confederations Cup on June 14.

“It should be given leeway based on the fact that its a new stadium,” Tlagale said.

Construction work on four of the other stadiums, including Royal Bafokeng, Loftus Versfeld and Ellis Park, would be completed before the end of the year.

LOC CE Danny Jordaan said speculation that FIFA was considering taking the tournament to another country was inaccurate.

He cited the huge investment already made by FIFA commercial partners on South Africa’s preparations as well the advanced stage in which the preparations were, as proof that such a move was impossible.

“Its just not speaking to any of the realities – there has never been such a question,” he said.

Responding to MPs concerns about the South African national soccer team’s readiness to participate in the tournament, Jordaan said although it was not the LOC’s job to prepare Bafana Bafana for the event, it was equally concerned about the team’s current form.

“It is important that the host nation performs,” he said.

Local football fans could lose interest in the whole 2010 tournament should the national soccer team be eliminated in the early stages of the games.

“If Bafana Bafana does not perform the home crowd will be disillusioned and disappointed,” he said

PUBLICATION: Engineering News
DATED: 17th June 2008