News / Africa

Football Legend Maradona Praises S. Africa's World Cup Preparations

Maradona, who is considered one of the best football players in recent times, also dismissed security fears as he toured the Soccer City stadium near Soweto, outside Johannesburg.

Multimedia

Audio

With four months to go until the start of the football World Cup in South Africa, two new stadiums are hosting their first matches this weekend leaving only two arenas out of the total of ten yet to be ready. The head coach of the Argentine team, Diego Maradona, has praised the facilities at the end of a five-day inspection visit.

The head coach of Argentina's national football team, Diego Maradona, congratulated those who worked on South Africa's new football stadiums saying they have done a great job.

Maradona, who is considered one of the best football players in recent times, also dismissed security fears as he toured the Soccer City stadium near Soweto, outside Johannesburg.

He says things can happen in this world but he spent a week in South Africa and has seen that the people are good and very friendly.  He says he has no doubt that this will be a great World Cup and there will be no problem with security.

Fears over security were heightened after some news media reported that terrorist groups might target South African installations during the World Cup.

This followed an attack on Togo's national team two weeks ago as it traveled to its opening game in the African Cup of Nations in Angola. Two team members were killed and one seriously wounded.

Maradona, who also visited children's teams in poor neighborhoods in several cities, said he had seen with his own eyes that South Africa is a safe country. He hoped his team would eventually play in the Johannesburg stadium.

The 90,000 seat Soccer City is to host the opening and final matches of the month-long World Cup which kicks off on June 11.

South Africa has spent nearly $2 billion building five new stadiums and refurbishing five others for the tournament.

The new stadiums in Cape Town and the northeastern city of Polokwane are hosting their inaugural matches Saturday. Football arenas in six other cities, including Durban and Pretoria, have also been completed and have already hosted games.

Soccer City is also nearing completion with only minor fixtures and the parking lot pavement remaining to be completed. Contractors say they expect to finish in a few weeks.

The last stadium, in the eastern city of Nelspruit, is to be handed over as soon as a new pitch is finished.

South African officials take pride in having completed the stadiums on schedule. They have had to counter doubts over their ability to host the event since the announcement was made that South Africa had been selected to host the first ever football World Cup on African soil.

The government has also invested millions of dollars in upgrading transportation, accommodation and tourism facilities. The event is expected to draw more than 400,000 football fans from around the world.

Concerns over security have been especially hard to dispel due to the country's high crime rate. The government has hired thousands of police officers, created special courts and purchased millions of dollars worth of crowd control equipment for the event.

The World Cup is expected to create tens of thousands of jobs and inject billions of dollars into the economy.

You May Like

Pundits Split Over Long-Term US Role in Afghanistan

Security pact remains condition for American presence beyond 2014; deadline criticized More

US Eyes Islamic State Threat

Officials warn that IS could pose a threat to US homeland More

Video Ukraine: Captured Troops Proof of Russian Role in Separatist Fight

Moscow says Russian troops crossed into Ukrainian territory by mistake More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Scientists Unlock Mystery of Bird Flocksi
X
George Putic
August 25, 2014 4:00 PM
How can flocks of birds, schools of fish or herds of antelope suddenly change direction -- all the individuals adjusting their movement in concert, at seemingly the same time? British researchers now have some insights into this behavior, which has puzzled scientists for a long time. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video Scientists Unlock Mystery of Bird Flocks

How can flocks of birds, schools of fish or herds of antelope suddenly change direction -- all the individuals adjusting their movement in concert, at seemingly the same time? British researchers now have some insights into this behavior, which has puzzled scientists for a long time. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video Ukraine: Captured Troops Proof of Russian Role in Separatist Fight

Ukrainian officials say they have captured Russian soldiers on Ukrainian territory -- the latest accusation of Moscow's involvement in the conflict in eastern Ukraine. VOA's Gabe Joselow reports from the Ukrainian side of the battle, where soldiers are convinced of Russia's role.
Video

Video Rubber May Soon Come From Dandelions

Synthetic rubber has been around for more than a century, but quality tires for cars, trucks and aircraft still need up to 40 percent or more natural rubber content. As the source of natural rubber, the rubber tree, is prone to disease and can be affected by bad weather. So scientists are looking for replacements. And as VOA’s George Putic reports, they may have found one in a ubiquitous weed.
Video

Video Jewish Life in Argentina Reflected in Yiddish Tango

Jewish people from across Europe and Russia have been immigrating to Argentina for hundreds of years. They brought with them dance music that was eventually mixed with Argentine tango. The result is Yiddish tango -- a fusion of melodies and cultural experiences that is still evolving today. Elizabeth Lee reports on how one band is bringing Yiddish tango to Los Angeles.
Video

Video Peace Returns to Ferguson as Community Tries to Heal

Thousands of people nationwide are expected to attend funeral services Monday in the U.S. Midwestern city of St. Louis, Missouri, for Michael Brown, the unarmed African-American teenager who was fatally shot by a white police officer August 9 in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson. The shooting touched off days of violent demonstrations there, resulting in more than 100 arrests. VOA's Chris Simkins reports from Ferguson where the community is trying to move on after weeks of racial tension.
Video

Video Meeting in Minsk May Hinge on Putin Story

The presidents of Russia and Ukraine are expected to meet face-to-face Tuesday in Minsk, along with European leaders, for talks on the situation in Ukraine. Political analysts say the much welcomed dialogue could help bring an end to months of deadly clashes between pro-Russia separatists and Ukrainian forces in the country's southeast. But much depends on the actions of one man, Russian President Vladimir Putin. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
Video

Video Artists Shun Russia's Profanity Law

Russia in July enacted a law threatening fines for publicly displayed profanity in media, films, literature, music and theater. The restriction, the toughest since the Soviet era, aims to protect the Russian language and culture and has been welcomed by those who say cursing is getting out of control. But many artists reject the move as a patronizing and ineffective act of censorship in line with a string of conservative morality laws. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
Video

Video British Fighters on Frontline of ISIS Information War

Security services are racing to identify the Islamic State militant who beheaded U.S. journalist James Foley in Syria. The murderer spoke English on camera with a British accent. It’s estimated that several hundred British citizens are fighting for the Islamic State, also called ISIL or ISIS, alongside thousands of other foreign jihadists. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from the center of the investigation in London.

AppleAndroid