Mother City prepares her welcome
City spokesman, Pieter Cronje, says Cape Town has hosted these events for many years, and has consistently shown its ability to come to the party when it really matters. And with Cape Town having successfully hosted the Final Draw for the 2010 FIFA World Cup in December 2009, Cronje believes this shows that the city is ready for the World Cup.
“The world was waiting for the match order of the 32 participating teams. This FIFA delivered through the draw but the world was also watching to see if Cape Town could stage a world-class event, and if we could pull off a successful FIFA Fan Fest. And Cape Town delivered,” says Cronje, referring to the Final Draw which saw 120,000 people gathered in Adderley street for the switch on of the festive lights and 55,000 gathered in Long Street for the Final Draw FIFA Fan Fest.
Cronje also points to the recent test events at the city’s new Green Point stadium as evidence of the level of preparation underway in Cape Town to ensure a smooth tournament in South Africa’s Mother City.
“Since then [the Final Draw] the city has held two test events at the new stadium – a football match for 20,000 spectators and a rugby match for 40,000. In keeping with World Cup practice, there were no ticket sales at the stadium and people used public transport and free shuttle buses to go to the stadium from the rail, taxi, bus and parking hub in the CBD. Both events were successful and also served to identify and fix smaller problems,” he adds.
Cronje says the new 68,000-seater Green Point stadium is ready, major road interchanges will be ready in April and May, the FIFA Fan Fest and four public viewing areas across the city have been planned and tenders let.
“We are keenly awaiting the buses for the shuttle service from the airport to the CBD, a circular service within the CBD and the shuttle service to the stadium on match days. We are ready, but there is no room for complacency and there is much hard work ahead”.
Cape Town International Airport has seen major developments in recent years, in preparation for the World Cup, including a 1.5 billion rand new terminal with 120 check-in counters, 20 self-service check-in machines, eight air bridges, 11 bus gates, and an automated baggage-sorting system.
“At the heart of the City of Cape Town’s development strategy is infrastructure-led economic growth. The objective is to further establish Cape Town’s reputation as a globally competitive business and leisure destination, which will attract more investment and grow our local economy,” says the city’s Mayor, Dan Plato.
The city residents, from shop owners to small businesses, agree that Cape Town is well primed for the biggest show on earth.
“Cape Town will show the world what it is capable of. I have no doubt about that,” says Waterfront shop owner, Daniel Green. “We will host this event better than it has ever been hosted before”.
School headmaster, Ton Breads, agrees: “Cape Town has shown what it is capable of by hosting such an amazing World Cup Draw, and I have no doubt the city will prove itself once again in June,” he says.
On Cape Town’s Grand Parade, traders and customers alike are brimming with confidence too. “It will be the most awesome World Cup ever,” says trader, Jacob Oliphant.
In the trains and taxis, the buzz is all about the World Cup. “Nothing can faze us. We can handle this with no hassle. We just have to do what we are best at – be ourselves”, says taxi driver, Victor Shlope