Starting on June 9th 2010, the world`s focus will fall on South Africa. The biggest football tournament in the world will be held in nine venues in ten cities across the country. Thirty two teams will play a total of sixty four games and is it likely to make the tournament the most watched TV event in history.
The Soccer City stadium in Johannesburg which holds 104,000 people will host the 2010 final. Alongside the Ellis Stadium (capacity 60,000), the stadium will host a further fourteen matches. Johannesburg is the only city supplying two venues for the tournament.
Greenpoint Stadium in South Africa`s oldest city, Cape Town, will host eight matches. The Moses Mabhida stadium in Durban, a popular tourist destination, will host seven matches. North of Johannesburgh, in South Africa`s administrative capital Pretoria six matches will be played in the 45,000 seater Loftus Versfeld Stadium.
The Nelson Mandela Stadium in Port Elizabeth will host eight matches, including the third place play off. The former capital of the Boer Republic, Bloemfontaine, will host six matches at the Vodacom Stadium. The mining area of Rustenburg will host five matches at the Royal Bafokeng Stadium. East of Johannesburg in Nelspruit, each of the five World Cup matches will be watched in the Mbombela Stadium. Finally, 40,000 people will watch each of the four first round matches at the Peter Mokaba Stadium in Polokwane.
Only one million tickets of the three million tickets available will go to international visitors. If you are interested in attending, it would be advisable to apply for tickets as soon as possible.
South Africa is hoping to leave a legacy of improved transport infrastructure for its population and visitors. A fleet of luxury coaches, trains and buses are being procured, which will be used in communities afterwards. It is hoped by 2010 a train will be available every five minutes in peak times. A massive taxi recapitalisation plan is also under way, but there are excellent hire car facilities also.
Accommodation is invariably plentiful, and of a very high quality. Even bed and breakfast hotels are often five star. Additionally, guest houses and lodges are being encouraged to register as service providers.
The South African government has pledged the 2010 tournament will be a safe tournament. Helicopters and police will be deployed using military standard equipment. South Africa will be working closely with international agencies and will be focusing on entry points, routes, and accommodation areas with state of the art technology. For the first time, visitors will be able to obtain a special `events visa`.
So will Brazil, Argentina or other South American teams prosper? Will European teams like Italy or Germany adapt, or will South Africa become the first African winners of the World Cup? Host nations can often be a force in their own backyards.
One thing is for sure. The 2010 World Cup will be the biggest show on earth.