But says transport and security are problem areas.

South Africa has scored eight out of 10 for the organisation of the 2009 Confederations Cup, which kicked off 10 days ago.

Fifa president Sepp Blatter gave the country the thumbs up yesterday at a media briefing in Sandton, north of Johannesburg.

“What the world will see in 2010 is a truly successful African World Cup with excitement and tons of energy,” he said.

Blatter, who was discussing the lessons learned from the Confederations Cup, said, however, that upgrading security and transport were a priority.

“Transport and security are top of our list because [these have] not really worked out in the Confederations Cup ,” he said.

Jerome Valcke, Fifa’s general secretary, who scored the country, said the local organising committee’s organisation had been “top class”.

“Yes, we have faced some challenges but some deals have been done with the local organising committee around security in the stadiums,” Valcke said.

At a separate media briefing with the local organising committee and the deputy minister of police, Fikile Mbalula, yesterday afternoon, problems with security and the park-and-ride transport system were reiterated.

Security issues were raised after two teams were allegedly robbed and theft was reported in and around some stadiums. The Egyptian team was allegedly robbed of more than R19000 in their hotel room on Thursday.

It emerged at the weekend that the Brazilian team, too, was robbed at their hotel in Johannesburg.

Local organising committee chief executive Danny Jordaan said the committee would evaluate the problems and solutions, particularly with regard to transportation.

“[The park-and-ride system] is something we introduced to test. We need to consider that fans get to the stadium over a three-hour period, but when the match is over they all leave at the same time. We have to strengthen the flow of buses, signage, access [to transport] and stewarding support [for fans].”

Mbalula, who attempted to put the crime concerns of the international media to rest, said: “Security has been intact. I salute the men in blue. They have outdone themselves.”

He said “people have mingled and come together in the spirit of the game”.

  • Blatter announced that US President Barack Obama has accepted an invitation to the World Cup opening in South Africa next year.

“The World Cup in Africa will go well, there is no doubt,” he said

“President Obama has accepted an invitation to the opening ceremony. Of course the schedule of heads of state can change, but he has said he will be there if he can,” Blatter said. — Additional reporting by Sapa

PUBLICATION: The Times
AUTHOR: Sally Evans and Mazola Molefe
DATED: 23rd June 2009