Zuma promises safe World Cup in South Africa

South African President Jacob Zuma sought to allay concerns about security at the 2010 World Cup, saying crime had already been cut and visitors would be protected.

London: South African President Jacob Zuma sought to allay concerns about security at the 2010 World Cup, saying crime had already been cut and visitors would be protected.

"The fact is we have brought down crime already. We are therefore very confident on this. And when we say we are ready now for the World Cup, we include security in that," Zuma said during his state visit to Britain.

"We are ready to protect those who come. If there are those who are sceptical or feel concern, they must know this matter has been addressed.”

"They will come to South Africa safely and leave safer," he added.

Zuma spoke after visiting Wembley Stadium, the home of English football, where he met officials involved in England`s bid to stage the 2018 World Cup.

All 10 stadiums hosting matches in South Africa have virtually been completed, with only two yet to hold games to test the facilities.

Zuma brushed aside concerns about the progress of construction of stadia and training facilities and insisted his nation was on track to complete its preparations before the first World Cup held in Africa kicks off on June 11.

"At the beginning many people said it would be very difficult for South Africa to host the competition," he said.

"For the last six years we have worked very hard to ensure we are able to welcome the world to South Africa.”

"We can say now without fear of contradiction that we are ready, if not more than ready, to receive those who come to South Africa.”

"We`ve finished some of the stadia four months ahead of schedule. At the beginning people were asking if we`d manage to finish them.”

"We`ve proved we are ready and we are hosting this on behalf of Africa."
Zuma stopped short of endorsing England`s bid for the tournament in eight years` time, saying: "We`ll leave that decision to the leadership of FIFA. Wherever the World Cup is, South Africa will be there.

"We bid twice for this. The first time we didn`t succeed, the second time we did.”

"I`m sure England can win. The UK is always known to be very efficient and to present things in a better way."
Earlier Thursday, the man masterminding South Africa`s hosting of the football showpiece, Danny Jordaan, hit out at critics of the preparations and promised the most financially successful tournament in the event`s history.

"We will deliver within our budget of 423 million dollars," he said in London, and predicted world football`s governing body FIFA would generate 3.5 billion dollars from the event.

Jordaan also dismissed reports in the South African media that FIFA were parachuting in 40 advisors to help bolster his team in the run-up to the World Cup.

Bureau Report

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