'Loftus will be ready for 2010'

Published Jun 24, 2008


Upgrading Loftus Versfeld in Pretoria is "slightly" behind schedule but the stadium will be ready for the 2010 World Cup, manager Hugo Kemp said on Tuesday.

"Every construction job goes behind at some stage," he said in reaction to reports that Loftus and the Tshwane metro were behind schedule for 2010.

"This is not a concern as we will make up time lost," he said.

"I can assure the country and Fifa (world soccer's controlling body) that all the renovations for Loftus will be completed by December 2008. The upgrading at Loftus is not major compared to other World Cup venues."

Kemp pointed out that the cost of the upgrade to Loftus was R100-million. The rebuilding of Soccer City south of Johannesburg is estimated at about R1.56 billion.

Said Kemp: "I have no fear whatsoever we will complete the renovations ahead of schedule on December 2008."

The renovations are only scheduled to be completed in March 2009 according to Tshwane metro spokesperson Console Tleane.

Beeld newspaper reported earlier that Minister in the President's Office Essop Pahad had made no secret that the government was not happy with Tshwane's preparation for 2010.

The report said that 2010 matches scheduled for Loftus could be switched to Johannesburg if the stadium was not completed on time.

However, Tleane said: "I was present at that meeting last Thursday and the minister did not show major concern for deadlines. The meeting was a routine one dealing with Loftus. We accepted there were slight delays but nothing to get worried about."

The meeting was attended by 2010 Local Organising Committee (LOC) chairperson Irvin Khoza, chief executive officer Danny Jordaan, and president of the SA Football Association, Molefi Oliphant.

Jordaan, who is in the Austrian capital Vienna attending the European Championships, also strongly denied that there were any major problems with Loftus.

"There is no chance World Cup games would be taken away from Loftus. The stadium will be completed on schedule. I actually praised Tshwane at that meeting for their good work in getting the stadium and city prepared for 2010. It is all systems go as far as the LOC are concerned in Tshwane."

Meanwhile representatives of Pretoria and the other 2010 hosts cities, Johannesburg, Polokwane, Nelspruit, Rustenburg, Cape Town, Port Elizabeth, Durban and Bloemfontein, are in Austria giving presentations to European soccer officials about their readiness to host the first World Cup on African soil.

Concluded Tleane: "If we would not be ready then why on earth would we be making these presentation in Austria?" - Sapa

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