Pretoria to be Argentina's training ground

Tuesday, January 19, 2010
By: 
Nthambeleni Gabara

Pretoria - Coach of the Argentina national soccer team, Diego Maradona, is pleased that the LC de Villiers Sports Grounds in Pretoria will be a suitable facility for his team to use as a training base camp during the 2010 FIFA World Cup.

The 49-year-old football icon and a delegation from the Argentina Football Association (AFA) inspected the facilities on Monday.

During the inspection, Maradona distributed caps and soccer jerseys to the students of the Sports Academy of the High Performance Centre on the premises. He also dished out a few hugs to fans.

Before hitting the road again, he walked to the far east corner of the sport fields where Mamelodi players were training, where he held a brief discussion with their coach Hristo Stoichkov.

Chief Executive Officer of the Sports Academy, Toby Sutcliffe, told reporters that the Argentinians were happy with the sports facilities. "They have expressed their satisfaction about our sports facilities," he said.

Today, the delegation is expected to visit the Lowe Middle School in GaRankuwa. The school represented Argentina at the annual Group of Latin and Caribbean countries football tournament.

On Thursday, Maradona is to visit Soccer City, the venue for the opening and closing ceremonies of the World Cup.

Argentina was placed in Group B of the World Cup with Nigeria, Korea Republic and Greece. Their first World Cup encounter will be against Nigeria in Johannesburg on 11 June, they will also play against Greece in their last match on 26 June.

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