Tag Archives: Hospital Bend

Volunteers will be the face of the FIFA 2010 World Cup

About 18 300 volunteers, out of close to 68 000 applicants, have been appointed in key strategic areas, to assist in the running of the 2010 World Cup at the ten stadiums around the country.   About 70 % of the volunteers are resident in South Africa, while the rest of the volunteers come from the other 31 qualifying nations.

The training of the 2 500 volunteers selected for Cape Town took place ten days ago, and ran smoothly, given the size of the group.  Volunteers were told that they are the face of South Africa for the event, and will act as important tourism ambassadors.

Functional areas in which the selected volunteers will provide support are accreditation, administration, IT and telecommunications, environmental services, language support, logistic services, marketing, media, protocol services, transportation, volunteer management, welcome and information services, rights protection programme, spectator services, ticketing, and hospitality services.   Most Cape Town volunteers will start working from early June, and will be mainly based at the Volunteer Centre at the Cape Town Stadium.

Volunteers were told: “Hosting the World Cup in South Africa is a once in a lifetime opportunity for many people, the story of which will be told for decades.  Not only will you be involved in a world class event and making history, you will meet people from all nationalities, learn new skills and have the opportunity to work with cutting edge technology and experts in the fields of event and sports management”.

In Cape Town the volunteers saw many videos, to help explain aspects of the World Cup, and to communicate key tourism facts about South Africa, as well as about their Host City Cape Town.  So, for example, volunteers learnt that South Africa has eight UNESCO World Heritage sites: Richtersveld, Greater St Lucia, Sterkfontein Caves, Robben Island, Vredefort Dome, Cape floral kingdom, Drakensberg Park, and Mapungubwe National Park.   They learnt that Cape Town has five of the six most visited tourism attractions: Robben Island, Table Mountain, the Winelands, Cape Point and the V & A Waterfront.  Sadly, the Southern Right whales were not included in the training programme.

The volunteers were also introduced to the Cape Town Stadium, which will be a 68 000 seater stadium for the World Cup, and then reduced to 55 000 seats.   The stadium was built in three years by 2 500 workers, the roof weighs 4 700 tons, the stadium has 500 toilets, 16 lifts, and 115 entry turnstiles.   Volunteers were given a ticket each to attend the two soccer matches on Saturday a week ago, so that they could experience the stadium first hand.   The Cape Town Stadium has been praised by FIFA Secretary-General Jerome Valcke as the best World Cup stadium of all.   Cape Town will host the largest hospitality villages of all the stadiums in South Africa during the World Cup.

The legacy of the World Cup for Cape Town was explained, with a R 4,5 million stadium and green park area surrounding it, the Athlone and Philippi stadium upgrades, the Cape Town station upgrade, the Grand Parade upgrade, the Cape Town International upgrade, the Hospital Bend traffic upgrade, and the R3,2 billion Bus Rapid Transport system.

The vision was declared to be to host a memorable event, which will enhance the image of South Africa and Africa, and to build new partnerships, leading the country to “be significant global players in all fields of human endeavour”.  The mission was defined as “mobilising South Africans to organise an African FIFA World Cup with precision, innovation and flair”, to “extend an unforgettable South African welcome to the world”, and to “collaborate with all stakeholders in a dynamic partnership based on integrity and excellence”.

Volunteers were advised to not defend South Africa if they were challenged about negative aspects, and to promote the good about the country, to smile, and to display national pride.

On the last day of the three-day training program the volunteers met in their functional areas, and this is when they really got excited about the role they will play, and the opportunities they have to possibly see or even meet their soccer star heroes, given their functional responsibility.  In May the volunteers meet at the Cape Town Stadium in their functional groups, for detailed orientation at the stadium, and for training in their functional area of responsibility.   Let the games begin!

Chris von Ulmenstein, Whale Cottage Portfolio: www.whalecottage.com

100 day countdown: are we on track for World Cup 2010?

The countdown to the last 100 days to the largest sports event ever to be hosted by South Africa starts today.   FIFA has given South Africa 8/10 for its readiness to host the World Cup, with only 100 days left for it to become 10/10, reports the Cape Argus.

A whirlwind visit by the FIFA and Local Organising Committee top executives and 120 local and international journalists of all ten the World Cup host cities has focused attention on the status of the preparations for the event.

1.  The Cape Town Stadium is completed, and two test events which have taken place in the stadium went off reasonably smoothly.  FIFA Secretary-General Jerome Valcke heaped praise on Cape Town for its stadium yesterday, and he said that the city stadium pitch should be the benchmark for all stadiums.   Valcke also said that “Cape Town will be the perfect place to be during the World Cup.”   He lauded the Cape Town Stadium, and said that it would attract many thousands of soccer fans, even after the completion of the World Cup. 

   The pitch at Mombela Stadium in Nelspruit is currently a sandpit, but will be ready for the June start. 

2.  The roads in most host cities and highways leading to them, have been significantly improved, and should be completed by April.  The roads in Cape Town in particular will be transformed, with the N1 and the N2 both having more lanes, and previous traffic blockages such as Hospital Bend on the N2 will be something of the past soon.   Even in the city centre, the roads and pavements have been radically improved in Green Point, close to the Cape Town Stadium, making it a pleasure to drive past the Stadium to get to the Waterfront, and to walk in the area.

    The roads around the Royal Bafokeng Stadium in Rustenburg and the Mombela Stadium in Nelspruit are still in a poor condition.

3.   Bookings seem to have slowed down to a trickle as far as accommodation is concerned, and this is FIFA’s current largest challenge, in that international media are reporting negatively about the “rip-off” pricing in South Africa and the level of crime.   These two factors appear to be the major deterrents to soccer fans attending the matches.   Accommodation in a leading suburb like Camps Bay in Cape Town, a 10 minute drive from Cape Town Stadium, is about 50 % booked for the World Cup.   MATCH, FIFA’s accommodation agency, has been severely criticised for creating the image of “rip-off pricing”,  by adding 30 % commission to all its package components, including accommodation, tickets, flight tickets, and transport.

4.   FIFA’s is expanding the number of low cost tickets it is making available to South Africa, and denies lowering the price of its category 3 and 4 ticket prices offered to South Africans.   But tickets are not selling as they should, meaning that the estimate of 450000 international soccer fans attending the World Cup will not be achieved, meaning more locals will make up the viewership, but will not be using the hospitality facilities which have been pitched at international soccer fans.   More tickets could be made available at lower prices closer to the start of the World Cup.

5.   Excitement in South Africa about the World Cup remains low, and in fact appears to have reduced in interest since the Final Draw of 4 December.   This follows the news that the international soccer fans will not be attending as expected, and that top international trainers are expressing their resistamce and restentment to FIFA for choosing South Africa and maybe even Africa as the host country for the first time ever.

6.   What was meant to be an African World Cup, stressed to be such by FIFA President Sepp Blatter over and over again, appears to be a South African World Cup.  Due to a reduced demand of accommodation, MATCH is not using accommodation in neighbouring countries or in Mauritius, as previously threatened.  Worst of all is that ticket sales to soccer fans in African countries are extremely low (about 2 %), due to the difficulty in making bookings via the internet in African countries, and the low ownership of credit cards on this continent.

7.   What is missing is a campaign of support, to enthuse South Africans to be positive about the World Cup, and to be friendly and generous to soccer fans.  In Germany an advertising campaign was launched in the last few months prior to the start of the World Cup 2006, with the slogan :”Die Welt zu Gast bei Freunden” (The world at home with friends), to encourage the generally stiff Germans to reach out and welcome soccer fans from around the world.   The campaign was particularly successful in uniting East and West Germans at the time. Plans to teach locals foreign languages such as Spanish and French, and to guide them in regard to cultural differences,  have not been followed through.   Volunteers have been interviewed but not appointed.  Some of them will be appointed for their foreign language skills, and for their knowledge of their city.   But time is running thin, to train them as to how to deal with the calibre of such an event.

8.   What will give the marketing of the World Cup a much-needed boost will be the attendance of the World Cup by VIP’s : those that appear likely to attend include President Obama; Paul Allen, the Microsoft co-founder; top businessperson Lakshmi Mittal; Businessperson and Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich;  Charlize Theron, who assisted with the Final Draw in December; Victoria Beckham, who is said to have rented an apartment in Camps Bay rather than join the England team in Rustenburg; rapper Akon and possibly Lady Gaga;  Franz Beckenbauer, previous German star soccer player and trainer, will spend the first five days of the World Cup on the MS Noordam outside Durban, reports The Times.

Cape Town celebrates the 100-day countdown with a demonstration of the Diski Dance at Cape Town Stadium, organised by Cape Town Tourism.

Chris von Ulmenstein, Whale Cottage Portfolio: www.whalecottage.com

Cape Town’s road upgrades on track

More than R 1,5 billion is being spent on the upgrade of roads in Cape Town, in preparation for the FIFA World Cup, reports the Cape Times.

The Bus Rapid Transport system is being constructed between the city and the Koeberg area, as well as between Klipfontein and the city.   Both will be completed before June.

Cycle lanes between the R27, and Table View, and the city are also being constructed.  Cycle lanes are planned as the preferred means of transport to the Cape Town stadium, even though the World Cup months of June and July are traditional wet winter months in the Cape!   “We are building a lot of cycle lanes so that people can cycle to different events and viewing areas during the World Cup” said Trevor Steyn, City Transport Executive Support Officer.

The Hospital Bend upgrade, the airport road upgrade, and the section between R300 and Vanguard Drive, are all expected to be completed by 31 March.   Upgrades are also planned for Symphony Way and Fritz Sonnenberg Street from Granger Bay.

The report also refers to “An inner city transport system is to be set up which will include the CBD and offshore (definition not provided), the Port of Cape Town and the Victoria and Alfred Waterfront as well as all the suburbs of the City Bowl.  The project would extend eastwards to include Green Point, Sea Point and Camps Bay and then the Culemborg area, Woodstock, Salt River, Observatory and Mowbray”.  Unfortunately the report does not specify exactly what this “inner city transport system” is, but it is planned to be finished by 30 April.

All road signage upgrades will be completed by April.

Chris von Ulmenstein, Whale Cottage Portfolio: www.whalecottage.com