In just over three weeks time, Africa will open its shores to the biggest party to ever hit the continent when the world’s greatest show, the FIFA World Cup™, kicks of in South Africa in 11 June at the majestic, Soccer City, a venue also known as the “African Calabash”.
Six of Africa’s best teams will battle with some of world football's most celebrated teams and the reality is, by the time the first match kicks off in 11 June, most, if not all, the tickets for the matches to be played at the ten stadiums across the country will be unavailable.
Already, 90 per cent of the tickets have been sold for the 64 matches, according to the Organising Committee CEO, Danny Jordaan. Jordaan is optimistic that all games will be “sold out” in South Africa in June and July.
“I have no doubt in my mind that all of the matches will be sold out,” said Jordaan. “I am certain that this World Cup will be a sell-out and those remaining tickets will be bought. About 300,000 tickets were sold in the last few weeks alone."
He heralded the success of the over-the-counter sales initiative that also includes the 600 FNB branches around the host country. A number of matches are currently unavailable including the opening game between hosts South Africa and Mexico at Soccer City and the final at the same venue on 11 July. The two semi-finals in Cape Town and Durban are also not on the market.
A game which is available, however, is one of the most anticipated games in the tournament between African giants, Côte d’Ivoire and Portugal at the Nelson Mandela Stadium in 15 June in Nelson Mandela Bay/Port Elizabeth. Côte d’Ivoire, who boost with a star-studded line-up which includes English Premier League Golden Boot winner, Didier Drogba, his Chelsea team-mate, Salomon Kalou, Barcelona’s Yaya Toure, Arsenal’s Emmanuel Eboue, rising star, Gervais Yao Kouassi otherwise known as Gervinho, to mention just a few. The Ivorians will arrive in South Africa amid fanfare despite their disappointing CAF Africa Cup of Nations campaign. The Portuguese, on the other hand, will be hopeful of a good start following their qualification campaign where they enjoyed mixed fortunes.
Nelson Mandela Bay’s 2010 Director, Errol Heynes said there are many reasons fans will want to chose to base themselves in Nelson Mandela Bay/ Port Elizabeth during the FIFA World Cup.
“Besides the top football matches that will be here, we have top attractions and beautiful beaches. I believe our stadium is among the best stadiums not only in South Africa but also in Africa,” Heynes said.
While not much is known about Nelspruit and Polokwane outside South Africa's borders, the two cities are set to host some of the most decorated players during the event. The incumbent world champions, Italy will face New Zealand at Nelspruit’s newly-built Mbombela Stadium on Sunday 20 June. Arguably, the biggest two matches to be played at Polokwane’s Peter Mokaba Stadium will be former world champions, France against Uruguay and Greece’s encounter with Argentina – Group B’s last match.
Tickets for all the above mentioned matches are still available at the 11 Ticketing Centres in South Africa. You can also purchase a ticket by visiting the tournament's official website, FIFA.com.
The first 24 hours of the over the counter sales, which started on 15 April saw a total of just over 100,000 tickets sold as thousands of football fans queued at the 11 Ticketing Centres (in all Host Cities) and the 600 FNB branches nationwide.
When the last figures were released, host nation South Africa was leading the ticket sales, with approximately 1,150,000 tickets purchased, followed by USA with around 130,000, UK 97,000, Australia 43,000, Germany 40,000, Mexico 36,000, Japan 22,000, Brazil 18,000, Canada 17,000 and Switzerland 16,000.