FIFA Hails South Africa as 'Perfect' Host

Johannesburg, Jun 27 (IANS): Soccer World Cup governing body FIFA has hailed South Africa for being the "perfect" host of the tournament and said the country will now be considered as an alternate venue for future events.

"We have gone beyond our targets on everything, the number of visitors to South Africa has passed our expectations and the number of tickets is higher than what we sold in Germany so may be South Africa will become plan B for the future," FIFA General Secretary Jerome Valcke told reporters Saturday.

Contrary to earlier fears that people would be discouraged to travel to South Africa for the World Cup due to the economic recession, numbers are showing that the tournament could emerge as one of the best in terms of attendance by both local and international fans, Valcke said.

More than 450,000 people have visited South Africa from June 1, BuaNews reported citing statistics released from Home Affairs Department.

"We know we are half way through but apart from transportation we had during the opening match, everything has been going so well. Every day we are meeting just to sort out a few issues but I can tell you my last meeting lasted for one minute which tells everything is well," Valcke said.

Organisers are now working hard to make the closing ceremony successful as they did June 11 when millions of people watched the spectacular opening ceremony at Soccer City.

Valcke said several heads of state, especially those whose teams will be playing in the final, were expected to attend the closing ceremony July 11.

Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva is already in the country and he hopes that his country's team, the five-time world champions, would make it to the final once again.






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