SA fans get ready for match-day experience
South African fans are in for a feast of football this June as the six continental champions, reigning world champions Italy and hosts South Africa take to the field for the FIFA Confederations Cup 2009.
And while the stage is set for an exciting football fortnight, it's important for fans to be aware of exactly what to expect in order to ensure a positive match-day experience.
And one of the country's most passionate local fans, popular Ajax Cape Town and Bafana Bafana supporter Gladys Gailey, for one can't wait for the tournament to start.
For Gailey, it is important local fans are aware of what to expect when they arrive at the stadium on match day and she was an active participant as FIFA and the 2010 FIFA World Cup Organising Committee South Africa (OC) simulated a match day experience at Ellis Park this week, explaining all the security and ticketing procedures that will be in place for the tournament.
"There is going to be a real good vibe. We are going to rock South Africa this June and we will definitely enjoy it. I am just excited about this Confederations Cup. Fans must make sure they come with a ticket and fans must realise that no fake tickets will be allowed," said Gailey, listening intently as organisers explained that FIFA Confederations Cup tickets will have 15 security features built in to guard against counterfeiting.
Gailey stressed to her fellow fans the importance of the security restrictions that will be in place for the tournament.
"People coming to the game must follow the instructions of the security at the stadium and not bring prohibited items into the stadium. People must get there (the stadium) early as they will have to go through many check-points to get to their seat. They must make sure they have their ticket with them at all times".
OC Chief of Security, Commissioner Linda Mti, said there would be tight security control of the area surrounding and inside the stadium, with three security points to get through before fans get to their allocated seats.
"The route to the stadium before reaching the first security point will be controlled by the police who will ensure that nothing that will compromise the safety of the fans or of the match goes on. The first point they (the fans) will get to is referred to as the ‘mag and bag' area where everyone will go through a metal detector. The tickets will be checked at this point and private security as well as volunteers will control this area. From here, they will go to the turnstiles where they will have to scan their ticket to validate it. Once through the stewards will then guide them to their seat. These stewards are the third security point," said Mti.
Although there are many security checks, the fans are assured of getting to their seat in time.
"We can process around 45,000 people per hour which in the case of Ellis Park is roughly three-quarters of the total number of people who will be there for any particular game," continued Mti.
To assist people with getting to their seats a colour coding system has been implemented. Fans must follow the signs to the matching colour block on their ticket, which will lead them to their correct area. Stewards will be in place to assist them in finding their correct seat.
With all these measures in place, Mti urged fans to get to the stadium early for the game.
"It is critical that spectators come as early as possible, for the opening game they should get here at least three hours before kick-off and two hours before for the other matches".