Johannesburg: Construction workers who built South Africa’s stadiums for the 2010 FIFA World Cup were on Monday given free tickets by the organisers to watch the games.
“Today we recognise your contribution,” organizing committee chief, Danny Jordaan told workers at Soccer City stadium.
More than 200 workers who built Soccer City received two double tickets, including the June 11 opening match, to be played at the 95000 seater venue.
“My office is just next to the stadium. I saw flood lights going up at night and the workers working long after sunset to make sure the stadium is complete,” said Jordaan.
The workers tickets are part of FIFA’s Ticket Fund initiative, aimed at distributing 120,000 complimentary tickets to ordinary South Africans.
Some 54,000 tickets are reserved for construction workers who worked on the stadia around the country.
“I am really proud when I look at the work my fellow workers and I have done over the years. The chance to sit in the stadiums we have built for a World cup match is a perfect reward,” said Patrick Geqeza a shop steward for the workers.
Construction of new stadiums was finished by the end of 2009, following wage dispute strikes which halted work and threatened deadlines.
“I am so happy (about the tickets)... I am taking my boyfriend to the match, I can’t wait to show him around so he can see this beautiful stadium,” said Mable Mabaso, 32, a cleaner at the stadium.
This year’s World Cup will be the first to be played on African soil.