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FIFA World Cup 2010

THE TENSION is reaching the breaking point as South Africa, the Rainbow Nation prepares to host the 2010 FIFA World Cup scheduled to take place between Friday (June 11) and July 11, 2010.

The stadiums are completed, and have already hosted pre-cup games. Major upgrades in the hospitality and transport sectors have come on line. South Africa is ready and will continue to benefit long after the last ball has been kicked and the final match has been played.

A total of 32 teams will take part in the prestigious international event beginning with the first match between host South Africa and Mexico on Friday.

This will be the first time the FIFA World Cup is hosted by an African nation, after South Africa defeated Morocco and Egypt in an all-African bidding process; although not many people knows that South Africa has successfully hosted both the 1997 World Rugby Cup and the 2003 World Cricket Cup as well.

Although South Africa's hopes of reaching the finals are not considered the best, the nature of soccer cup competitions and especially the FIFA World Cup, is that any team can win. International African football teams including Ivory Coast, Nigeria, and Cameroon can keep their hopes high.

Before the games begin, it is good to have an idea where the matches will be played.

South Africa has ensured a wider spread of benefits by establishing 10 stadiums across the country. Many of the football matches are scheduled to be played in the urban hubs of Cape Town, Durban and the Soweto / Johannesburg / Pretoria Metropolis, All the stadiums meet FIFA standards in terms of safety, team, and crowd comforts, and are comparable with any other soccer stadium elsewhere in the world: The three most high profile stadiums are Johannesburg (Soccer City, 88,000 seats), Johannesburg (Ellis Park Stadium, 61,000 seats), and Tshwane / Pretoria (Loftus Versveld Stadium, 49,000 seats).

These three stadiums in South Africa's central urban Metropolis will host three rounds of sixteen, two quarter finals, and the all-important final game at Soccer City in Soweto. In moments between exciting matches, international soccer fans will have the opportunity to experience vibrant African city life and the game reserves that lie beyond.

* The three soccer venues on South Africa's southern and western coastal strip - Cape Town (Green Point Stadium, 66,000 seats), Durban (Durban Stadium, 69,000 seats), and Nelson Mandela Bay / Port Elizabeth (Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium, 46,000 seats) - although not benefiting from the final game, will nevertheless host three rounds of sixteen, two quarter finals, and two semi final matches. Beyond these soccer stadiums, tourist destinations like the Cape Winelands, Addo Elephant Park, and the Drakensberg Mountains await, where match celebrations may be held.

* The remaining four Stadiums - Mangaung / Bloemfontein (Free State Stadium, 45,000 seats), Rustenburg (Royal Bafokeng Stadium, 44,000 seats), Nelspruit (Mbombela Stadium, 43,000 seats), and Polokwane (Peter Mokaba Stadium, 45,000 seats) - all have much more to offer than just two rounds of sixteen between them. They are located near conservation areas such as Golden Gate Highlands National Park, the legendary Rustenburg protected areas, the Blyde River Canyon, and surrounding areas of exceptional natural beauty, not to mention the teeming herds of game in Kruger National Park.

Enjoy the action as South Africa's FIFA World Cup 2010 promises a whole lot more, by staging the world's greatest soccer tournament ever from today until July 11.

Tips

How to become a soccer fan

FOR the entire month of June and into the first week of July, sporting fans around the world will be glued to TV screens in homes, sports bars and shopping centres to watch the grandest sporting event in the world: the World Cup. If you feel left out because you're not a soccer fan, here's your chance to become one:

* First things first. European fans don't call it soccer, to them it is `football.' The important part is the sport - not the name.

* Watch a lot of soccer on TV. European matches are most prominent, but remember there are different leagues out there, with totally different styles of play.

* Choose a team to support and learn all you can about the club you chose.

* Read up on the team you are cheering for. Know the players, the coach, the team record and why they're better than any other team.

* Learn the rules of the game, including offside, corner kicks and more.

* Participate in fan initiatives especially when crazy face-painting jobs are involved.

* Join a friendly neighbourhood or office football team play some soccer yourself.

* Dribble the ball around in the grass, bounce it off walls, learn to juggle with your knees.

* Move your feet and your heart will follow.

* Love for the game is how to become a soccer fan.
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