SA 2010: 1000 days to go
© FIFA.com

South Africans from all walks of life will gather in their thousands around the country on Saturday 15 September 2007 to mark the 1000 Day Countdown to the 2010 FIFA World Cup™.

As it reaches this important milestone, the 2010 FIFA World Cup Organising Committee South Africa (OC) and the South African government are satisfied that all preparations for the tournament are on track to deliver on the country's promise to host the best FIFA World Cup ever.

"The 1000 Day Countdown marks the beginning of the operational phase of the 2010 FIFA World Cup. We are running within time and within budget and we are confident that the tournament will be a success. There is a shared vision and commitment by all South Africans that this World Cup must work," said OC Chief Executive Officer Danny Jordaan.

The country's leader, President Thabo Mbeki added: "The 2010 FIFA World Cup presents a golden opportunity to showcase Africa to the world. Now we have to show that the African renaissance is upon us and Africa's time has come. The South African Government will leave no stone unturned to host a tournament that brings great satisfaction to billions across the world."

The OC, in conjunction with the tournament's nine host cities, will stage free public events countrywide to mark the 1000-day countdown on 15 September.

"The milestone offers all people involved in 2010 the opportunity to collectively inform the nation about the progress made thus far, as well as mobilise South Africans behind the efforts of making sure the 2010 FIFA World Cup becomes the success we want it to be," said the OC's Chief Officer of Communications and Marketing, Tim Modise.

"As a collective, we have to say to the world that we are confident of our abilities to host a successful World Cup. We are calling on South Africans in their thousands to support their host cities' events and to fly the flag for their country. After all, this is their World Cup," he added.

President's praise
FIFA President Joseph S. Blatter said the 1000 day countdown would stimulate interest and enthusiasm even more in the host country.

"I want to congratulate the nine host cities and the Local Organising Committee for the great initiative to organise this commemorative event marking the 1000 Day countdown," he said.

"I am really delighted by the enthusiasm and big efforts made not only to organise a unique event, but also to include the entire nation in this celebrations on their joint journey to 2010. I am sure that with this event the wave of enthusiasm for the 2010 FIFA World Cup will reach everybody in South Africa, including those normally not in contact with football. If there is one thing on this planet that has the power to bind people together it is football."

The construction of five new stadiums and the major upgrade of Soccer City has generated 10,400 direct jobs and a further 9,800 annual jobs as a result of the multiplier effect. Soccer City alone, which will host the Opening Match and Final, has 1,400 workers on site daily as South Africa delivers on its promise of job creation for its inhabitants.

The city of Tshwane's 1000 Day countdown event will take place at the Union Buildings. Soweto's Mofolo Park is the venue for Johannesburg's party, with Mayor Amos Masondo addressing the public, as well as performances from popular local artists such as TKZee, Zamajobe, Mafikizolo and Malaika.

'Joburg' will also link up with the ATKV Afrikaans cultural organisation to stage a "Hoezit 2010" music festival at Newtown's Mary Fitzgerald Square. Among the artists featured will be the world-renowned Soweto String Quartet, who will soon produce their first Afrikaans album.

Rustenburg;s festival take place at Olympia Park, with performances by local music heavyweight Hip Hop Pantsula and other traditional artists. The Mangaung Municipality, with the region's famous football supporters, will host its event at Hoffman Square in the city centre, with performances by artists such as Nateaze, Alah-Yen, Mabana Cultural Group, the Botshabelo Dance Masters and the Boikanyo Cultural Group.

Capetonians will converge on the Grand Parade in the city centre, wheras Durban, which will host the Preliminary Draw on 25 November 2007, will also join in the festivities at the city's main sports stadium. Polokwane will host its event at the Peter Mokaba Stadium.

For South Africans it is a day to unite and joyfully come together in a way they last did when FIFA awarded the country the right to host the 2010 FIFA World Cup on 15 May 2004. But the hard work will quickly resume as the country works around the clock to prepare to host the world in 2010.