Neighbouring countries hoping to benefit from South Africaâ€™s hosting of next years football World Cup finals will have to do most of the work themselves, says the chief executive of South Africaâ€™s 2010 Local Organising Committee, Danny Jordaan.
Zimbabwe, Botswana and Zambia are banking on some of the teams in the World Cup to use their countries as training bases before and during the tournament.
â€œThe organising committee is not responsible for setting base camps,â€ Jordaan told IndependentSport this week.Â â€œAt the end it is up to the teams where they go. The choices are made by the teams, particularly the football association and the coach.â€
With the Confederations Cup due here in June, the World Cup prelude tournament will give early indications if South Africaâ€™s neighbours are able to attract international teams to their countries. Zimbabwe recently completed the refurbishment of the 60 000-seater National Sports Stadium, the countryâ€™s largest sports facility in Harare.
â€œWe encourage all countries to participate in whichever way they can,â€ said Jordaan. â€œThey should encourage their citizens to come and watch the games. We also encourage them to market their countries to the participatingÂ Â nations.
â€œAs the first African World Cup, we hope that all African countries willÂ Â benefit from the influx of tourists and the worldâ€™s attention turned to South Africa and the continent. We definitely believe that neighbouring countries can benefit from the World Cup as tourists may want to explore the rest of the continent.Â Africa as whole is on show, not just South Africa.â€
With 13 months to go to the World Cup, there is no clear-cut strategy on how South Africa’s neighbours will benefit from the World Cup, raising fear that for the rest of the continent, 2010 could be much-do-about-nothing.
Meanwhile, Manchester City manager Mark Hughes and executive chairman Gary Cook were in the country this week to attend the launch of the Vodacom Challenge Trophy on Monday.
City, considered the richest club in the world after they were bought by the Abu Dhabi United Group Investment and Development Limited, will tour South Africa in June for a pre-season tournament with Soweto giants Kaizer Chiefs and Orlando Pirates.
City players such as Robinho and Elana who are likely to feature for their countries in the Confederations Cup, will be excluded from the tri-team tournament, leaving Zimbabwean striker Benjani Mwaruwari, who has not featured regularly for City this season, with a good chance to return to the country he used as springboard to European football.
BY ENOCK MUCHINJO IN DURBAN