Upcoming sports bonanza a boost for South Africa

April 18th, 2009 - 3:39 pm ICT by IANS  

Sachin Tendulkar Pretoria, April 18 (IANS) A series of sporting events which South Africa will showcase over the next few months, including the Indian Premier League (IPL), will establish the country as a venue of choice for hosting global sporting events.
This weekend saw the start of the IPL, which will be followed by the British Lions Rugby tour and the International Cricket Council’s Champions Trophy.

Government spokesperson Themba Maseko told BuaNews 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.

He said the upcoming “sport bonanza” would “go a long way towards cementing South Africa as a venue of choice for hosting international sporting events”.

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 for the tournament which overlapped general elections in that country.

The IPL will take place in six South African cities April 18-May 24.

IPL organisers 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.

Maseko said the cabinet has also endorsed the South African Rugby Union’s bid to host either the 2015 or the 2019 Rugby World Cup.

He said with the Confederations Cup taking place soon after the IPL in June, the South African public is in for a “real bonanza”.

“We are in for a fantastic IPL and Confeds Cup, not to mention the 2010 World Cup (Football World Cup), which we will host definitely in true African style,” Maseko said.

These events, he 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 teams.

South Africa’s FIFA World Cup 2010 Organising Committee chief executive officer Danny Jordaan said: “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.”

Maseko said the South African National Defence Force and the police will stand guard during the Confederations Cup and FIFA World Cup.

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