South Africa 2008-10-10 : Joburg switches on 2010 countdown clock

By Ndaba Dlamini

Johannesburg - The Johannesburg Executive Mayor, Amos Masondo, has unveiled the City's 2010 Countdown Clock at the Metro Centre building in Braamfontein on Thursday.

With just over 600 days to go before the first match of the 2010 FIFA World Cup kicks off, Mr Masondo has urged Joburgers to rally behind the city to make the event a success.

He said each day was a challenge as the world cup approached, reports

"We must renew our vigour and awareness of the countdown to the World Cup each day. I am urging everyone in ... Johannesburg to make this event a success."

Mr Masondo added that focus was not only on the world cup, but was also on the 2009 FIFA Confederations Cup.

"This is also a challenge to us to show the world that as a host city of the Confederations Cup in 2009, we are capable and ready to host a successful World Cup event in 2010."

Joburg's Ellis Park Stadium will host the opening and the final matches of the Confederations Cup, which runs from 14 to 28 June 2009.

The football tournament, regarded as a dress rehearsal for the world cup, features eight nations, namely Brazil, Egypt, Iraq, Italy, New Zealand, United States, Spain, and hosts South Africa.

The countdown clock to the world cup, which stands in front of the Metro Link Centre at the Metropolitan Centre on Loveday Street, bears the Joburg Host City 2010 World Cup logo.

Underneath the logo, a digital clock ticks away the days to the 2010 World Cup.

Inscribed against a black background below the clock is the City's World Cup vision: "A World-Class African Host City".

2010 executive director in the City, Sibongile Mazibuko, said preparations for the event formed part of Johannesburg's long-term vision to position itself as a world-class African city.

"The countdown clock serves to remind ourselves that we are counting down to the world cup, that we need to push on with major projects to fast track development that will change the face of Johannesburg forever."

She said Joburg was the first world cup host city to put up a clock counting down to kick off.