2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa™

11 June - 11 July

2010 FIFA World Cup™

'Cape Town is special'

© Getty Images

He might not feature in coach Carlos Alberto Parreira's first-choice defence at the moment but towering centre-back Matthew Booth remains a popular figure in South Africa whose appearance on the field always elicits a reverberating cry of "Booooth".

By his admission, Booth is an adventurous and outgoing type but when he talks about his home city of Cape Town, it is evident he enjoys the opportunity to relax at some of its lesser-known places – notably Simon's Town, a coastal spot a short drive from the city. To someone who is not a Capetonian, Simon's Town, founded in 1741 as a naval depot, might not ring a bell, but it is here that Booth goes to unwind whenever he visits the Mother City.

"Cape Town is certainly the place to be. When I'm in Cape Town, I enjoy going to Simon's Town, it's one of the most fascinating places in Cape Town. And, another thing, it's got a lot of restaurants, so whenever I want to hang out, I go there," he tells FIFA.com as he takes readers on a quick tour of the city where he established himself as a budding footballer at the then Cape Town Spurs (now Ajax Cape Town).

These days, Booth spends most of his time in the inland part of South Africa. He plays for Pretoria-based outfit Mamelodi Sundowns and when not with Sundowns, is on duty with Bafana Bafana, whose base is Johannesburg. But mention Cape Town to him and he suddenly lights up. "Cape Town is special, man. Of course now I'm always in Gauteng, but there is no place like home."

Cape Town has taken centre stage during the 2010 FIFA World Cup. The Mother City will host a total of eight games including one of the semi-finals. Many fans and VIP visitors are already using the coastal city as a base during their stay in South Africa. "I guess everyone who comes to Cape Town wants to go to the Table Mountain, it's a wonderful place and I will recommend it to a lot of people. I think what people like about Table Mountain is that when you are there, you feel, literally, on top of the world, it has a breathtaking view."

Robben Island is one of South Africa's most treasured places. It is there, in the cold waters of the Atlantic that one of the world's famous prisoners, Nelson Mandela, was imprisoned for almost two decades before being transferred to another prison in Cape Town for another decade. "Robben Island is a special place, you cannot leave Cape Town without visiting Robben Island. It's one of those places where one will probably get a bit emotional because of what the place stood for in the history of this country."

Then he lightens up again. "In my list, I will go to the V&A Waterfront where people will be spoiled for choice. Cape Town is diverse, it's a place where you can get a lot of things or activities in one place," Booth added. And he hopes that the 2010 FIFA World Cup will have a lasting legacy for the Mother City. "One of the major benefits is that it has given Cape Town a world-class football facility – something which has been lacking for the past couple of years."

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