FIFA executive satisfied with 2010 dress-rehearsal

Monday, June 29, 2009

Johannesburg - FIFA President, Sepp Blatter, says the world football governing body is satisfied with the level of preparation that was done for the 2009 Confederations Cup.

Addressing the media on Monday, a day after the tournament's final match, Mr Blatter said the rehearsal for the 2010 FIFA World Cup had been done satisfactorily and FIFA was convinced that South Africa would host a successful world cup next year.

"South Africa is in the right direction and the Local Organising Committee (LOC) and the South African government have done an exceptional job, but there are still challenges to be addressed," Mr Blatter said.

He said the hospitality, the stadiums and the reception by South Africans was wonderful, but emphasised that adequate accommodation, the transportation system, crowd control outside the stadium, the park-and-ride system and a few other logistics remained a major challenge.

"These challenges need to be addressed and I'm confident that the LOC working with FIFA and the government will pay attention to these challenges before the world cup," he said.

Despite the challenges facing South Africa, Mr Blatter has given the country 7.5 points out of ten and encouraged the LOC to work hard to reach the maximum points during the much anticipated international sporting event.

He told reporters that as part of speeding up the process, the FIFA Organising Committee will meet regularly with the LOC to discuss the challenges and how South Africa can improve in making this African world cup the best ever.

Meanwhile, Mr Blatter has met with President Jacob Zuma and Deputy President, Kgalema Motlanthe, who pledged to coordinate the process of preparations for the 2010 FIFA World Cup.

"The South African government has shown great commitment and as FIFA we will work with them and the LOC to ensure that South Africa and Africa at large deliver a flourishing world cup which will leave a great legacy," he said.

Mr Blatter, who convinced the FIFA board in 1998 that the 2010 World Cup must be staged in Africa, said meeting South African icon Nelson Mandela was a great moment, adding that the old statesman is confident South Africa will deliver according to FIFA's requirement.

Regarding the Confederations Cup, the FIFA boss said the football displayed by the teams was magnificent, adding that South African fans kept the tournament abuzz.

"I want to thank the South Africa population and not forgetting the volunteers who have done a wonderful job throughout the tournament.

"This competition was not only about football, but it has lifted the spirit of South Africa and I'm looking forward to the 2010 FIFA World Cup," Mr Blatter said.

Mr Blatter has also complemented Bafana Bafana for their improvement during the tournament, adding that next year he expected the national side to be a great competitor against the giants.

"They are a good team, with quality players with great talent. Tactically they were brilliant and now they have to combine these abilities and start scoring goals. But overall I complement Bafana Bafana for their continuous improvement," he said.