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South African President Pledges Successful Soccer World Cup in 2010


South Africa's president, Thabo Mbeki, has told organizers of the 2010 Soccer World Cup that his country will spare no effort to ensure a successful soccer World Cup championship in four years. Mr. Mbeki was speaking in Capetown at the first workshop of officials from the world soccer governing body, corporate sponsors and the South African government.

South African President Thabo Mbeki Tuesday sought to ease fears that preparations for the 2010 soccer World Cup are falling behind schedule, pledging that all preparations will be completed on time.

He promised officials of the International World Soccer Federation, FIFA, that as they tour the country they will be impressed.

"They [the foreign visitors] will see a lot of exciting work in progress in many sectors of our society to give meaning to our humanity as our current preparations for the 2010 FIFA Soccer World Cup stand out as a yet another example of a great site of work in progress in Africa," he said.

His remarks follow expressions of concern by some international sports officials that work on the 10 stadiums has yet to begin in earnest.

Others have voiced concern over inadequate transportation and communications infrastructure and a lack of security.

South African officials assure skeptics that preparations are underway. The government to date has budgeted more than $1 billion to upgrade roads, airports, and railway lines. And it has earmarked roughly $667 million to build several new stadiums and renovate others.

The government also says it will upgrade public transportation and private minibus taxis.

South Africa expects 400,000 visitors to attend the World Cup in four years. It estimates that the tournament will generate more than 100,000 new jobs and inject several billion dollars into the economy.

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