Thirty-two local football teams masquerading as the official 2010 FIFA World Cup™ nations will whet the appetite for the daily live broadcasts at the FIFA Fan Fest™ in Port Elizabeth from Friday, June 11.

The participating teams have each drawn a nation that they will be representing and will play their matches to coincide with actual fixtures, according to FIFA Fan Fest™ deputy director David Limbert.

He said Ghetto Stars, who have drawn Bafana Bafana, will therefore play The Young Teenagers, otherwise known as Mexico, in the first match on Friday to mimic the opening fixture of this year’s FIFA World Cup™.

The same formula will be applied to the day’s second game between France and Uruguay, as well as to all subsequent matches. As there are four leagues (u/13, u/17, open men and open women), every official fixture will have four corresponding five-a-side encounters, each lasting 15 minutes.

Limbert said the teams were selected from seven local football associations. “We’re hoping that the communities where the teams are from will come to support their teams and then stay on to watch the live broadcasts.

“We also envisage that a specific team’s supporters will ‘adopt’ their overseas likeness and support them whenever South Africa is not playing.”

One of the goals of the five-a-side tournament, said Limbert, was to raise the profile of local football beyond the FIFA World Cup™.

Depending on the official schedule, between two and three matches will be screened daily at the FIFA Fan Fest™ – until the knock-out stages, when fewer games will be played.

The FIFA Fan Fest™ at St George’s Park will have its official opening on Thursday evening when the FIFA World Cup™ Kick-off Celebration Concert is beamed live from the Orlando Stadium in Soweto. Gates open at 5pm.

For the remainder of the tournament, the FIFA Fan Fest™ will operate from 11am to midnight on match days.

On Friday, the opening ceremony of the FIFA World Cup™ will be broadcast live between 2pm and 3pm, followed by the first two fixtures at 4pm and 8.30pm respectively.

Afro-pop artist Ntando, the headline act, will take to the stage at 7pm.

Limbert said the public will have to pass through search areas when they arrive at the venue. “Don’t bring weapons, food or drinks and don’t arrive under the influence.”

He said entry to the FIFA Fan Fest™, which accommodates 25 000 people, was free.
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