Hosting of the 50 days Kickoff to the FIFA 2010 Soccer World Cup

MEDIA STATEMENT BY THE PREMIER OF THE NORTHERN CAPE, MS HAZEL JENKINS ON THE HOSTING OF THE 50 DAYS KICKOFF TO THE FIFA 2010 SOCCER WORLD CUP

12 APRIL 2010

All MEC’s Present; Honourable Mayors; Esteemed Members of the Media; Ladies and Gentlemen

We are pleased to announce our readiness as a province to host the 50 day countdown spectacle. All systems are in place to receive the world’s most senior echelon of global soccer dignitaries on the 21st of April 2010 - the last major FIFA event before the official kick-off.

The status of the Northern Cape Province as a global player is enhanced with the responsibility and privilege to host the 50 Days Countdown celebratory event. At this auspicious occasion – the world will once again receive a report on the state of readiness of South Africa to host the ultimate sporting event on the African continent for the first time.

By securing the right to host the 2010 FIFA World Cup, South Africa was recognized as a global player, equal among its peers and sufficiently able to participate in hosting this most prestigious international sporting event. The fact that the 2010 FIFA World Cup is hosted on African soil for the first time adds to the prestige of this global extravaganza. That Uruguay – the first team to win the World Cup – will set up base camp in Kimberley – the City of Firsts – brings the Northern Cape Province into the mainstream of international sporting events.

The Northern Cape Province is blessed with the opportunity to host both Uruguay and the 50 days to kick-off celebratory event. We believe that these historic events will go a long way to infuse a positive environment towards uniting the people of our province in particular and our rainbow nation at large. The magnitude of these events has not gone unnoticed to the residents of the Province. Through collective effort the soccer fraternity will be welcomed with typical Northern Cape warmth, hospitality and aplomb. The province worked tirelessly in ensuring that the high expectations of the Uruguay Football Association will be exceeded and that the 50 day event will be one to be remembered for generations to come.

SABC 2’s Morning Live Programme will be broadcast live from the Oppenheimer Gardens as a kick start to the festivities of the day. The showpiece for the Northern Cape Province will be a parade of floats representative of the cultures, traditions, scenes and sights of the province. Amongst others we should be on the lookout for the animals in the Kalahari dancing to the unique tune of the vuvuzela, the awesome beauty of Namaqualand and the scientific wonders unlocked by SALT! The floats will start in different townships coming together at the Oppenheimer Gardens and from there move in convoy to the Galeshewe Stadium.

Upon arrival the floats will be welcomed by the CANDOMBE (can-dome-bey) in celebration of our relationship with Uruguay. The Candombe is an African derived rhythm that has been an important part of Uruguayan culture for over two hundred years. This rhythm travelled to Uruguay from Africa with black slaves, and is still going strong in the streets, halls and carnivals of this small but enchanting country. The Candombe inextricably links Uruguay to Africa through the ancestral heritage of its African roots, brought by slaves arriving at the Río de la Plata (River Plate).

At 11h00 dignitaries will be invited to turn the sod of the first artificial soccer pitch located at the King George Sports Ground. The countdown clock will be unveiled at 12h00 where after the National Anthem will be sung by the Kimberley Children’s Choir accompanied by the SAPS orchestra. The Commissioners of the SAPS will take the national salute under the watchful eye of 2 Oryx helicopters proudly carrying the national flag. 500 soccer players will have the benefit of 3 hours of coaching by the African All Stars! These events will be broadcast live to Upington and Colesberg where communities will gather at PVAs to join in the festivities.

Kimberley will be awash with dignitaries! The Presidency and other, top FIFA and LOC executives and numerous other high-ranking dignitaries from the worlds of soccer, economics and politics will grace our shores. We can also confirm – that for the first time – the African All Stars – African Players that have participated in past World Cups – will gather in Kimberley to conduct coaching clinics.

These events will be interspersed with performances by local artists and flavoured by the artistry of the Diski Dancers and the agile ball jugglers. Local and National artists will kick up a storm at GWK Park where the Amajimbos (SA U/17) will take on a Provincial U/17 selection in a warm-up game prior to the qualifier against Namibia (24 Apr). At both venues SMMEs – trained in association with FIFA branding protocols – will be on hand to sell their wares.

The crowning glory on a hectic day of festivities certainly will be the Gala Dinner. At this juncture we need to be reminded that Uruguay was the first country to host the World Cup and win it in 1930. The first winners of the World Cup will be hosted in the City of Firsts! Therefore the theme of the gala is “Celebrating football in the home of firsts”. Entertainment to an approximated 1000 guests will be provided by local and national performers.

Numerous supporting events will lead up to the festivities: Expansive coaching clinics will be conducted in all Districts. The World Cup Trophy will be on show in Upington on 22 May (8h00 – 10h00) and in Kimberley from 11h00 – 18h00. The People’s Bus will be in Upington on the 21 April and in Kimberley on the 22 April 2010. A group of 70 mostly international members of the media fraternity will leave Johannesburg by train on 20 April. On the train various on board activities, in particular transport readiness will ensure that the journey seems much shorter. The African All Stars will join the media on the trip. Upon arrival they will be whisked away to a Sports Lecture addressed by Prof Riaan Odendaal and Mr. Belza, the UFA President. Mr Belza will take us back to Uruguay’s World Cup campaigns (1930 and 1950) while Prof Odendaal will reflect on the sporting history of the province obviously with a football bias. Collectively these esteemed gentlemen will bring to mind how sporting achievements tend to unite divided nations.

The Northern Cape is ready! Not only ready for the 50 day celebrations, but also ready to welcome Uruguay. We humbly urge all the people of the Northern Cape to welcome the Uruguayan visitors with the unique African experience and hospitality to make them feel safe and secure wherever they go. The respective task teams are firing on all cylinders in preparation for the 50 day dry run on 19 April. The building of the floats will commence on Wednesday. The stadium setup will be completed on 20 April.

We are sure that the five person inspection team from the Uruguay Football Association that will visit Kimberley over the period 20 – 22 April will be stunned into surprised silence! The pitch at GWK Park is in an impeccable condition! The Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee – Mr. Butana Khompela, MP, stated last Thursday that the pitch at GWK is one of the best in the country (even in comparison to host city pitches!). The masts bearing conspicuous lighting will be erected within the next 2 weeks. The upgrade at the hotel is well ahead of schedule. Their training to speak Spanish is progressing very well. We are sure that Uruguay will have excellent facilities beyond their requests and expectations delivered ahead of the agreed schedules!

Certainly businesses at the forefront of the upgrades have already benefitted directly. Hotels and guesthouses are sure (by all estimates) to do a roaring trade during the 50 day celebrations. Similarly food and beverage outlets should gear themselves for healthy trade. We once gain caution our hospitality and tourism industry not to charge exorbitant rates.

Provincial Government has done the hard yards. Extensive lobbying has brought Uruguay to our shores – this despite the fact that the province did not have a dedicated 2010 budget! Tourism excursions to Germany and Argentina were used to spread the 2010 FIFA World Cup gospel

A delegation (comprised of a healthy mix of people from government and the private sector) visited Uruguay in order to market the province to potential Uruguayan visitors.

The 2010 FIFA World Cup will enhance the sporting and tourism profile of the Northern Cape Province in particular and South Africa in general. The legacy left at GWK Park now enables evening games.

The Northern Cape is ready! Kimberley is ready! We are ready to participate and add our weight behind the showcasing of the best ever World Cup. South Africans have the rare opportunity to host the World Cup and should therefore – as a collective – ensure that our visitors are safe and return home with only good memories and pleasant experiences of how the greatest FIFA World Cup was contested on African soil.

Ke nako! This is our time!

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