By FOCUS REPORTER
THE city of Johannesburg will provide a fitting stage for the grand finale of the 2011 Vodacom Challenge at Coca-Cola Park on July 23.
Orlando Pirates FC who on Thursday eliminated Chiefs out of the competition with a 1-0 victory will meet English Premiership giants Tottenham Hotspur in the tournament decider, and will be hopeful of keeping the Vodacom Challenge trophy in Mzansi as they bring down the curtain on the prestigious pre-season event.
Gauteng is the 4th largest economy in Africa, next to South Africa, Egypt and Nigeria. Johannesburg is the world’s largest city not situated on a river, lake, or coastline, and its broader metropolitan population of 10.5-million people provides for a vibrant, exciting atmosphere where life is lived at lightning speed.
It is a city where dreams can be turned into reality and not for nothing has it been called the ‘New York of Africa’. Spanish dreams were indeed realised here when the city hosted the final of the 2010 FIFA World Cup™ at the magnificent FNB Stadium, which still stands as a magnificent tribute to the ambitions of the Gauteng province.
“Gauteng is the Home of Champions and the preferred Home of Competitive Sport,” says Mr Lebogang Maile, MEC: Gauteng Department of Sport, Arts, Culture and Recreation.
“We are delighted to welcome world-class football back to the Province following the huge success of the 2010 FIFA World Cup, which creating a wonderful legacy of improved sporting infrastructure and facilities in Gauteng. It also further proves that we are utilising our infrastructure in a sustainable way post the World Cup.”
“We wish all the teams well in the 2011 Vodacom Challenge and whichever of our great Soweto giants meet Tottenham Hotspur in the final at Coca-Cola Park on July 23, it will be a fantastic occasion. We also hope that visitors to our Province for the match get a chance to take in the all that the region has to offer, the great shopping, restaurants, museums and other cultural experiences.” concluded Maile.
Johannesburg in particular is home to some of South Africa’s most famous landmarks – the Apartheid museum, the Hector Peterson Museum, Constitution Hill, Freedom Square in Soweto and Nelson Mandela Square in Sandton.
It is a cultural hub of the country too, with many of South Africa’s leading musicians having grown up in the area. Kwaito music originates from Jozi, while a walk through its streets at any given time might lead to you hearing just about every genre of music from around the world, given the hugely diverse population of the city.
There are many attractions outside of Johannesburg too and its residents will often escape to ‘the bush’ over the weekend to take in the natural wildlife of this region of South Africa. The Cradle of Humankind, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is also just 25 kilometers outside the city.
It is the commercial capital of the country and home to some of the South Africa’s finest sports teams – and sporting venues. Coca-Cola Park, where the 2011 Vodacom Challenge final will be played, was also the scene for one of the most iconic moments in South African sporting history, when Nelson Mandela held the Rugby World Cup trophy aloft before handing it to Springbok captain Francois Pienaar in 1995.
The stadium initially dates back to 1928, but for all the joy that has been expressed there, it is also now a place of remembrance for many given the tragedy that unfolded on April 11, 2001, when 43 fans lost their lives in a stampede during a Soweto Derby between Kaizer Chiefs and Orlando Pirates FC.
More recently, the stadium hosted seven 2010 FIFA World Cup™ matches that included the likes of Argentina, Brazil, Spain, Italy and Nigeria, and remains one of the shining jewels in the country’s world-class sporting infrastructure.
Tickets for the July 23 encounter can be purchased from all Computicket, Shoprite, Checkers and Checkers Hyper outlets nationwide, with fans urged to get their tickets early to avoid the disappointment of missing out on seeing Orlando Pirates FC and Kaizer Chiefs go head-to-head.
Tickets are priced at R50 (East Stand – Upper), R80 (North and South Stands – Upper), R100 (East Stand – Lower; North and South – Lower), R150 (Grand Stand – Upper & Lower; East Stand – Premier) and R200 (Grand Stand – Premier)
For further information, please visit – www.vodacomchallenge.com