Derby - a test run

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The Pirates-Chiefs Soweto Derby, the highlight of the domestic football calendar that has in the past attracted in excess of 80 000 people, was moved to Durban as a showpiece of South African football to the 300 international media and 3 000 delegates who will attend the 2010 World Cup Preliminary Draw at the ICC on Sunday, November 25.

Speaking at a Press conference in Durban yesterday as part of the two-day Second KwaZulu-Natal Provincial 2010 Indaba, Local Organising Committee chairman Irvin Khoza said the Chiefs v Pirates derby will also be used to test Fan Parks around the country, including at Harry Gwala Stadium in Pietermaritzburg.

Fan Parks were the highly successful concept introduced by world controlling body Fifa at the World Cup in Germany last year.

Fans who did not manage to get tickets for matches could still experience a big-crowd atmosphere at open, big-screen venues surrounded by bars, eating places, merchandising shops, and cultural and musical exhibitions. The parks swelled the number of visitors to Germany.

Khoza also said the Chiefs-Pirates game will be televised in several countries. The 2010 preliminary draw will be televised and reported on globally and Fifa president Sepp Blatter will attend the soccer match on the Saturday and draw on Sunday.

"Whenever Mr. Blatter comes to town it becomes newsworthy and the international media follow him," said Khoza.

"We have discussed with several international media houses for the [Pirates-Chiefs] game to be beamed to a lot of countries internationally.

"More importantly we want to assess the impact of the Fan Parks. There were two reasons for the Fan Parks being tested for this game, firstly as a test and secondly to publicise the next day's World Cup draw locally, so that South Africans too show interest and participate in the draw."

Khoza said that with the Pirates-Chiefs game, the Preliminary Draw and a cricket One-Day International between South Africa and New Zealand all being held in Durban on the same weekend it will be a good test of the city's capacity to host major events.

The Pirates chairman said the game against Chiefs will serve as an early 2010 organisational dry run "because we cannot wait for the Confederations Cup [in 2009] as a test event. We've got to give those people with assigned responsibilities the in-service training to be able to articulate some of the requirements and also to test the strength of the personnel who will be assigned different responsibilities."

Premier Ndebele said the Preliminary Draw is an ideal opportunity to advertise KZN to the world.

"This Indaba is a start towards ensuring that the Preliminary Draw delegates and the millions of viewers around the world have a lasting, positive impression of the hosting province."

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