Soccerex Extends its Benefits in Soweto

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A sports complex will be built in Soweto

A sports complex will be built in Soweto as one of the legacy projects associated with hosting the business–to–business soccer convention, Soccerex. Making the announcement at the Sandton Convention Centre, the venue for the four–day event, on Wednesday, Gauteng Premier Mbhazima Shilowa said that the organisers of Soccerex had made a commitment to set up a sports centre in Mapetla. " The centre . . . will serve as a hub for educational, life skills and talent identification programmes. " [It] will comprise of a full–size soccer field, four five–a–side areas, each with colourful borders of red, blue, yellow and white surrounding the green playing area, and two play courts for tennis, netball and basketball, " he saidIt also forms part of the province's drive to deal with poverty and underdevelopment in Gauteng, reports Southafrica. info. Mr Shilowa said competitive sport had the ability and the potential not only to provide lots of entertainment for people, but to create jobs and grow the economy. Major events such as Soccerex and the world cup will bring thousands of international visitors to the province, helping Gauteng to market and position itself as a globally competitive region. " They give us an opportunity to showcase the immense opportunities that Gauteng, and indeed the country as a whole, have as a destination for tourism, investment and other major events. " Staging Soccerex would also provide an impetus to attract other local and international events to the province, building the sports sector of the economy and opening up economic opportunities for citizens. " Our aim is that Soccerex should contribute to our preparations to host a successful 2010 FIFA World Cup and we are pleased to note FIFA President Sepp Blatter's close association with and support for Soccerex, " Mr Shilowa said. Since winning the bid to host Soccerex, Gauteng has identified opportunities to maximise its benefits and leave lasting legacies. It has also provided subsidies for small, medium and micro enterprises to exhibit at Soccerex, in support of small business development. Through the Gauteng Economic Development Agency (GEDA), the province is hosting business development seminars and has forged relationships with other southern African countries to use Soccerex as a platform to build the business of football. To support sports development and open opportunities for young people to participate in the convention, Gauteng has set up a five–a–side soccer tournament in collaboration with the South African Football Association, (SAFA). Known as Diski 5 DP, the programme is part of an initiative to develop football among people under the age of 20. Regional tournaments have already taken place and teams from Ekurhuleni, West Rand, Tshwane, Johannesburg, Sedibeng and Metsweding will compete in the finals in Sandton on 25 November, before the Kagiso Soccerex Football Festival. The festival, sponsored by Kagiso Exhibition and Events, is a five–a–side football extravaganza in which leading English football teams like Manchester United and Liverpool will battle it out with African All Stars and a Soccerex Select team. During the four–day Soccerex, taxis which will transport delegates from the airport to their hotels have been accredited and the drivers trained in customer care. The bright yellow taxis will be monitored and dispatched from a central point to ensure passenger safety. Soccerex will kick off in Gauteng from 25 to 28 November 2007 and for the following two years. It will provide Gauteng and the country with an international platform to showcase the province and the country as a destination for investment, tourism and major events, particularly in the build–up to the world cup. The event is also expected to inject R7 billion into the Gauteng economy and create several employment opportunities.

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