South Africa FIFA World Cup is in Johannesburg
Saturday 12, June 2010
It has been six long years of preparation and anticipation, hard work and tough planning. And now it is time for the euphoria.
The long wait is finally over - the 19th FIFA World Cup, the premier international football tournament, kicked off yesterday at Soccer City stadium, in Soweto. Ke nako: It is here.
Since 15 May 2004, when the president of the world football body, Sepp Blatter, announced that South Africa would be the host of the 2010 FIFA World Cup™, the country has been in a frenzy of preparation - which all boils down to this final moment.
Several roads will be closed on match days in Joburg, and an appeal has been made to residents to be patient. They should try to avoid those areas, and use alternative routes.
"We want to encourage residents to exercise ubuntu and make all the visitors feel at home," said the director of the City's 2010 Office, Sibongile Mazibuko. She was speaking at a press conference on 8 June at the metro police department headquarters in the CBD.
The key areas that will be affected by road closures are around Soccer City on the outskirts of Soweto; Ellis Park Stadium on the eastern edge of the inner city; the FIFA head quarters in Sandton; and the fan parks and public viewing areas at Innes Free Park in Sandton, Elkah Stadium in Soweto and Mary Fitzgerald Square in Newtown.
Around the stadiums, roads will only be closed after the morning peak traffic, and at least 200 metro police officers will be deployed to make sure traffic flows. The Soweto Highway and Nasrec Road are two of the main arterials that will be closed around Soccer City from 9am to about 10pm today. No vehicles will be allowed to move through the closures - only buses heading to the stadium.
There is no need for ticket holders to use their own transport to the venue, as public transport will be laid on, including Rea Vaya, Metrobus and Metrorail. And the City has warned that illegally parked vehicles will be impounded and towed to a designated area in Crownwood Road, off the Soweto Highway. A fee of R1 000 will have to be paid for the vehicle to be released.
Park and Ride
People must use official Park and Rides or Park and Walks to get to Soccer City. Designated parking areas for Park and Walks are Shareworld Park and Walk, Rand Show Road Park and Walk, and the parking around Nasrec Expo Centre.
Parking tickets for the Park and Rides and Park and Walks must bought before the event at either ticketbreak.co.za or Computicket, as absolutely no parking tickets will be sold at the facilities. Match ticket holders without a parking ticket will be turned away at the entrances to the Park and Rides and Park and Walks.
Ticket prices for cars are R50, minibus taxis pay R100, 35-seater buses pay R300, and 64-seater buses pay R700. Park and Walks will be open from 10am.
The Park and Rides are at Wits University's West Campus, on Enoch Sontonga Avenue and Empire Road, in Braamfontein; at Constitution Hill in Joubert Street Extension, Braampark; and at Data Crescent in Ormonde, in the south of Johannesburg.
Stadium gates will open at 10am and it is anticipated that spectators will be gathering at the venue already. The opening ceremony starts at 2pm promptly. The match between Bafana Bafana and Mexico kicks off at 4pm.
Fans should have their vuvuzelas ready, as they have been cleared by the 2010 FIFA World Cup Organising Committee (OC) of South Africa.
Of the 32 countries that have qualified for the tournament, six are from Africa, namely: South Africa, Ghana, Ivory Coast, Nigeria, Cameroon and Algeria. The tournament is taking place in eight of South Africa's nine provinces, using 10 stadiums in nine host cities. Johannesburg is the only city with two venues for the competition, namely Soccer City and Ellis Park.
With transport at the heart of the tournament, the South African government invested R170-billion into the transport system over the five years from 2005 to 2010. Between 2006 and 2010, it spent approximately R600-billion on infrastructure development, much of this is for World Cup-related projects.
South Africa has hosted more than 140 major international events since 1994, among them the Rugby World Cup, Africa Cup of Nations, Cricket World Cup, World Summit on Sustainable Development and, in 2009, the FIFA Confederations Cup.
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