Fever at high pitch: Cape Town gears up for extravaganza
Published: Thursday, February 6, 2003, 23:53 [IST]
South Africa slams England on request for venue switch
Bacher mum on Eng shift request, certain about security
Cape Town: Cape Town is gearing up for the mass invasion of cricket fans ahead of the World Cup kick-off on Saturday, saying it is prepared for any eventuality. "This will be a bumper period for Cape Town and sports enthusiasts," assistant city manager Stewart Fisher said in a statement on Wednesday. "This event provides the city with an outstanding opportunity to market itself, and South Africa as a whole, to an international audience." Thousands of tourists flock to Cape Town every year and it has been named as one of the top destinations in the world, with BBC's Holiday programme placing it fifth in its rundown of "50 places to see before you die". An estimated 1.2 billion cricket enthusiasts worldwide will view the opening ceremony of the eighth World Cup in Cape Town on Saturday. More than 27,000 spectators are expected to attend the event which World Cup organisers have promised to be a spectacular showcase. "I think the watershed for this tournament will be this weekend. The opening ceremony ... people who watched the dress rehearsal said it was stunning and the following day there will be a magnificent cricket match at Newlands (in Cape Town). "I think those two exiting events will set the tone for a wonderful World Cup," the tournament's executive director Ali Bacher said. The Cape Town city council said it had spent millions of Rands to upgrade two cricket stadiums and deploy additional police, traffic and emergency officials. Disaster management manager Greg Pillay said, "We have pro-actively assessed all risks and drafted appropriate emergency plans for all venues, especially Newlands stadium, various City hotels and other special events areas. "The Cape Town Disaster Management Centre is geared to handle any eventuality," he said.