Topnews, FIFA World Cup 2010

29. June 2009

SA ready for 2010 after Confed Cup success: media

SA Good News. South Africa is on track for the continent's first football World Cup after a successful Confederations Cup showed the 2010 host's readiness, the country's newspapers said Monday.

But, amid gushing praise, was caution that South Africa has a year to iron out challenges of public transport, 2010 accommodation shortages and a handful of crime incidents reported during the two-week soccer showcase.

"Take a bow, SA. Detractors of Mzansi (South Africa) said we'll mess it up. How wrong. Besides SA's hospitality, we hosted a Confed Cup second to none," said the front page of popular daily The Sowetan.

In an editorial, the tabloid declared South Africa ready for 2010 while the sports pages lauded Brazil's second-half 3-2 come-back over the United States in front of 52,291 fans on Sunday simply as "Braziliant".

"The tournament had it all, great individual players, shock results, new heroes who could possibly go on to become global icons," said the paper's editorial.

"Our appetite has been whetted. We cannot wait for the full menu that is the FIFA World Cup." The Star front page said local team Bafana Bafana - The Boys - walked away with a hard-fought fourth place with heads held high, but South Africa as a host nation deserved gold.

"Yes, there were and are some teething problems," said the paper. "But when you stand back and look at it in its entirety, and spare the whole project a moment's thought, this country's achievements are nothing short of stunning."

The Times newspaper front page said in Zulu: "Siyabonga (We thank you) - see you next year."

"The success of the Confeds Cup - which is regarded as a dress rehearsal for the main tournament - proved beyond any doubt that South Africa is on track to deliver a memorable event next year," said the newspaper.

"However, plenty of work remains to be done," it added, pointing to transport hitches, 2010 bed shortages, and the highly publicised thefts from the Egyptian and Brazilian team hotels and the mugging of touring British Lion fans.

Business Day, in an article headlined "SA passes Confed test: now for 2010", said the country's hosting 2010 capability was no longer in doubt but that challenges have to be addressed before next June's kick-off.

"But even the most cynical among the foreign visitors have slowly come to accept that SA will host a world-class Soccer World Cup next year after successfully staging the Confederations Cup."

Source: Sapa-AFP; SAGoodNews

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