South African football fans have answered the call to support the 2010 FIFA World Cup™ by claiming the bulk of applications for the third ticket sales phase which closed on January 22.

Since the Final Draw for the 2010 FIFA World Cup held in Cape Town on 4 December, nearly one million applications from South Africans have been received - 79 per cent of the total.

“Clearly since the Final Draw in Cape Town, until the close of this sales phase, we have seen a flurry of activity around ticket sales. Indications are that in the last two weeks there has been increased activity around the national team (Bafana Bafana) and I am sure that we will see the stadiums sold out for these matches. We are in good shape. I am very excited to see how eager South Africans are to experience this tournament,” said 2010 FIFA World Cup Organising Committee Chief Executive Officer Dr Danny Jordaan.

Due to high demand for tickets reserved specifically for South African residents (Category 4), Jordaan announced that a further 280,000 Category 4 tickets would be released to accommodate for the local rush.

Speaking at a press conference held in Sandton in Johannesburg today , Chairman of the FIFA World Cup Ticketing sub-committee, Horst Schmidt, announced that six FIFA World Cup matches are already oversubscribed, including the opening match and Final at Soccer City in Johannesburg, the group match between Portugal and Brazil in Durban as well the Semi-Final matches in Durban and Cape Town.

“Another 55 matches are oversubscribed in at least one category for the third phase,” Schmidt confirmed.

To date two thirds of the available tickets for the tournament have been sold and more than one million applications were received during the third phase. The two million tickets include those which will be allocated during the random draw which will be held on 1 February.

Schmidt revealed that two call centres, one international (0041445832010) and the other in South Africa (0831232010)would be set up to deal with fan queries regarding ticket sales.

There was more good news for South Africans. From April 15 ticketing centres in each of the nine host cities will be opened. Here fans will be able to not only collect their confirmed tickets but also purchase any available tickets over the counter on a first come first serve basis. Dr Jordaan said the OC and FIFA would evaluate the feasibility of opening these ticketing centres even earlier than the planned April 15 date.

Apart from South Africa, as the host country, the USA leads ticket applications for the third phase with 50,217, the UK comes in second with 41,529, followed by Australia (15,523), Mexico (14,804) Germany (14,647) and Brazil (10, 767). South Africa’s neighbours have also starting showing an increased interest in making the trip across the border to see the world’s superstars in action with Botswana (2,519) Mozambique (1,795) and Namibia (1,191) showing the greatest interest so far.