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South Africa ready for Cup, says Fifa's Sepp Blatter

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World Cup will leave a lasting legacy - Blatter

Sepp Blatter says there is "no doubt" South Africa is ready to host the World Cup as Fifa begins the official 100-day countdown to the tournament.

Blatter said in Durban: "It's not so much that there's pessimism, but that it's always being thrown into doubt.

"It's bad. When there's doubt, there's no confidence. For me and Fifa, that bothers us sometimes."

Fifa insisted 2.2m of the 2.9m World Cup tickets have already been sold despite reports of slow ticket sales.

South Africa is equipped to deal with around 450,000 foreign visitors, but Fifa accepts the actual number could be lower, with many fans overseas still recovering from the shock of the global recession.

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Blatter spoke after a tour of South Africa's 10 stadiums that will host the month-long tournament. Construction is complete at all the stadiums, and only two are yet to host games to try out the new facilities.

South Africa has poured 33bn rand (£2.9bn) into preparations for the tournament. Major upgrades to airports in Johannesburg, Cape Town and Bloemfontein are complete, while Durban's new airport is set to open on 1 May.

The country is also trying to reassure fans about security in a nation with one of the highest crime rates in the world, averaging 50 murders each day. An extra 41,000 police have been recruited for the tournament.

Celebrations were planned in all of South Africa's main cities to mark 100 days until the event.

Schoolchildren were invited to ditch their uniforms for football jerseys, while Johannesburg planned a street party in the Sandton business district to teach people the "diski", a dance inspired by football moves that is the centrepiece of the country's marketing campaign.

Officials in Durban deployed teams to taxi ranks and train stations across the city to pass out 100-day badges, while in front of City Hall a pile of 100 footballs was set out, with one to be given away each day until 11 June.



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see also
Africans 'can afford World Cup'
02 Mar 10 |  Africa
Is South Africa ready for 2010?
11 Jun 09 |  Football
SA 2010 venues 'ready by October'
26 Mar 09 |  African
SA unsure on 2010 training base
23 Feb 10 |  African
Capello confirms World Cup base
23 Feb 10 |  World Cup 2010
Inside England's World Cup base
01 Feb 06 |  Internationals
England's ace base
16 Mar 06 |  Football
England's tale of World Cup injury woe
12 Feb 10 |  Football
World Cup map
05 Dec 09 |  World Cup 2010
World Cup 2010 group draw and fixtures
04 Dec 09 |  Football


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