Soweto residents back World Cup in South Africa

19:56, April 20, 2010      

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Residents of Soweto, the historic sprawling black township southwest of Johannesburg, are embracing the 2010 FIFA World Cup despite not hosting any of the 64 matches in the residential area.

The Sowetan newspaper reported on Tuesday that a resolution to support the FIFA World Cup was taken by community members at a workshop initiated by the Soweto Football Association (SFA) at the weekend.

South Africa will host the FIFA World Cup from June 11 to July 11. Soccer City, the venue for the opening and closing games, is on the outskirts of Soweto.

SFA chief executive Phil Mogodi told the Sowetan: "A resolution was taken at our football indaba on Sunday to urge our people to buy tickets".

He said the workshop was attended by representatives of South Africa's ruling African National Congress, the South African National Civics Association and Congress of South African Students' Association.

"We are united as residents of Soweto in believing that the World Cup is bigger than individuals, we need to embrace it despite not getting joy from the (FIFA) Local Organizing Committee (LOC)".

Mogodi said the SFA sent an invitation to the LOC to send representatives to address them as Soweto residents on how the township will benefit from the World Cup.

Mogodi said they were going to send a letter to LOC chairperson Irvin Khoza asking for a meeting with him about the World Cup benefits.

"Residents of Soweto also want to know the football development benefits of the World Cup. We want something tangible."

Mogodi announced that the community also backed the call to the South African Football Association (SAFA) to grant Soweto regional status within SAFA.

Soweto soccer clubs, administrators and some of the community members participated in a protest march to SAFA headquarters last month to ask the federation to grant them a regional status.

Source: Xinhua


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