09/07/2006 21:34 - (SA)
Pieter Malan, Beeld
London - South Africa's preparations for the 2010 soccer World Cup tournament are far behind schedule, according to an article in the German weekly Der Spiegel.
The SA authorities are so disorganised that the left hand does not know what the right hand is doing, the newspaper reported.
In Germany, planning was so advanced four years before the 2006 World Cup tournament that the officials knew precisely which streets would be closed before matches, the weekly, the largest in Europe, reported at the weekend.
However, "in Johannesburg, Durban and Cape Town chaos and confusion are the order of the day at the moment," according to the article.
Der Spiegel reports that Delron Buckley, a South African playing in the Bundesliga, said South Africa was completely behind schedule and had not built or repaired anything.
Members of the German organising committee told the weekly they had had several visits from the SA delegation but that the South Africans would not listen to advice. "I have to start at the beginning every time," a German official said.
According to the report many German soccer officials are starting to believe that the only way to save the 2010 tournament would be to send members of the German committee to South Africa to get things in order.
This, apparently, is a view shared by some South Africans. According to the report, Mpumalanga premier Thabang Makwetla said during a recent visit to Germany the 2010 tournament would be "Germany's next tournament".
Der Spiegel reports that Danny Jordaan, the chief of the SA organising committee, professes, as could be expected, that everything is in order.
Jordaan told the publication that he did not want to elaborate upon the progress made in South Africa because he did not want to steal the limelight from the tournament in Germany while it was still in progress.
Fifa, the body controlling world soccer, should bear some of the blame because "they have created their own version of the reality," the report says.
Der Spiegel alleges that Fifa's progress reports about the 2010 tournament do not reflect the reality.
The reports refer to suburban train systems that are very popular but do not keep in mind that no other significant transport systems exist and that mini-buses are old and dangerous.
The SA authorities have also admitted that the planned Gautrain, an express train between Johannesburg and Pretoria, will not be completed by 2010.
And to make things worse, the South Africans are playing poor soccer and cannot really justify their participation in the 2010 tournament, according to the report.