US relishing SA visit

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“I think we will have a wonderful event there. We are extraordinarily excited about going to South Africa next summer for the Fifa Confederations Cup and excited about trying to go back there in 2010 for the Fifa World Cup. We just need to qualify.

“It will be a lot different to previous FIFA World Cups in so many ways. It will be an exciting, spectacular event and we’re really looking forward to it,” he said

Gulati was speaking after Danny Jordaan gave a very in-depth analysis and presentation in the United States.

“In the United States we have often heard the question asked whether South Africa will be ready to host the 2010 Fifa World Cup and I feel comfortable I can now answer that question wherever I go with a resounding ‘yes’.

“It’s going to happen in South Africa and it’s going to happen well. People will see a magnificent Fifa World Cup in facilities that will parallel that of any in the world and with crowds and an atmosphere that will be equivalent to everywhere in the world,” added Chuck Blazer, the Concacaf Secretary-General and also current FIFA Executive Member, who is based in New York.

Tens of thousands of United States fans travelled to Germany for the 2006 FIFA World Cup and Gulati said there was also great excitement from United States fans wanting to travel to South Africa in 2010.

“The demand and ticket inquiries we’ve had for South Africa rival that for any other Fifa World Cup.

“In Germany we were oversubscribed for all three of our games and the interest of our fans to go to South Africa certainly rivals the demand for Germany 2006,” said Gulati.

Gulati said South Africa would have the same challenges faced by any other Fifa World Cup host country and said that when the United States hosted the event in 1994 “we were not ready until 10 minutes before kickoff”.

Jordaan said the safety of fans in 2010 was paramount, pointing out that tourists from the United States were - after Germany - the second highest visitors to South Africa last year, with 276 941 visitors having visited the country in 2007.

“It is a major event and security is an important issue and we will do our very best to ensure fans are safe. We’ve taken extra care and the Government has invested R1,3-billion on Fifa World Cup security and trained an additional 41 000 police officers,” said Jordaan.

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