IPL a boost for South Africa ahead of FIFA World Cup

April 16th, 2009 - 9:23 pm ICT by IANS  

Sachin Tendulkar Pretoria, April 16 (IANS) With the second edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL) kicking off Saturday, sports lovers in South Africa are in for a feast of events over the next few months that will also showcase the country’s ability to host international sporting events.
The IPL will be followed by the British Lions Rugby tour and the International Cricket Council’s Champions Trophy.

Government spokesperson Themba Maseko Thursday said that these events provided an opportunity for South Africa to build a momentum ahead of the FIFA Confederations Cup and the 2010 FIFA World Cup.

“The upcoming sport bonanza will go a long way towards cementing South Africa as a venue of choice for hosting international sporting events,” Maseko was quoted by BuaNews as saying.

The IPL, which is the most lucrative cricket tournament in the world, was moved to South Africa after the Indian government was unable to assure security in that country. The tournament, which will take place in six cities across the country, kicks off from April 18 until May 24.

IPL organisers have said South Africa’s success with the staging of the inaugural 20/20 Cricket World Cup was a major contributing factor to the decision to stage the event here.

“We are in for a fantastic IPL,” Maseko said, adding that “we will host definitely in true African style”.

South Africa will also host the FIFA Confederations Cup soon after the IPL in June followed by the FIFA football World Cup in 2010.

These events, Maseko said, present endless opportunities to market South Africa to the world.

The IPL will see the world’s best cricketers including Captain Sachin Tendulkar from the Mumbai Indians, Kevin Pietersen from Royal Challengers Bangalore as well as Sourav Ganguly and Adam Gilchrist participating in other Indian teams.

No South African is happier than football official Danny Jordaan at the decision to select South Africa ahead of England to host the IPL.

The decision to select South Africa for the tournament “adds a feather to South Africa’s cap”, said Jordaan, who played a key role in winning the bid for South Africa to host the 2010 FIFA World Cup.

“Moving this tournament (IPL), with its considerable financial implications and huge global television audience, to South Africa in such a short space of time is yet another major indication of world confidence in us,” said Jordaan.

“Some of the biggest cricket stars in the world will be here showcasing again the world-class facilities of our country and love for high-quality entertainment.”

Maseko also said that the government will provide adequate security cover to all the players and officials during the tournament.

The South African National Defence Force will also support the country’s police force to ensure safety of the players, officials and also the tourist who will flock to the country to witness the tournament, the spokesman said.

It is estimated that the IPL and the following British and Irish Lions rugby tour and FIFA Confederations Cup tournament could provide South Africa a $200-million revenue boost.

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