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Soccer News of Monday, 15 March 2010

Source: Raymond Yeboah

Ghana U-20 to take part in the World Youth Challenge

Report-Raymond Yeboah-Ark Sports

World Cup Under-20 champions Ghana are among four teams which will participate in the Cape Town International Challenge, set for April 7-10.

The other three countries that will do battle are 4-time Under-20 World champions Brazil, African giants Nigeria, a side who have traditionally been one of the continent's top youth team performers, and the South African national Under-20 side, Amajita.

Players that participate at this tournament could well go on to star at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.

Two venues will be used – the Newlands Stadium, and the Cape Town Stadium, which will play host to eight matches at the 2010 Fifa World Cup in June and July this year.

The tournament will be used as a test run for the World Cup, while it will also offer Cape Town fans who could not afford or who were unable to secure tickets for the World Cup, the chance to take in world class action at a very affordable cost – tickets are priced at R20 – R30.

While top class action will be on show, perhaps the most crucial purpose of this tournament will be to provide organisers with a gauge of just how ready Cape Town is to host the World Cup proper.

"This is another step in the evolution towards the World Cup. We have already had two test events – the soccer match (between Ajax and Santos) which hosted 20 000, a rugby match (between Western Province and Boland), which had 40 000 spectators," said deputy Mayor Ian Neilson.

"There will be a Christian prayer event on the March 22, and the Cape Town international Challenge will be the fourth event, and will host 65 000 people.

"This event will stretch us to the limit; it will ensure we are tested with a full stadium. Many of the eight World Cup games will be at night (as will the matches at the International Challenge), so it will provide us with an indicator of how we can cope with a full stadium at night time," said Neilson.

Director of Sports and Recreation, Gert Bam, added: "We have worked closely with SAFA Cape Town to get this event going. The City has deemed it fit as our final test because of the significance of the event and the competitors.

"We have made it affordable for people throughout the city to attend. Its going to be a wonderful experience and the people of Cape Town are in for a treat."

Safa Cape Town will be working closely with the 24 Local Football Associations to try and tap into the 100 000 amateur players in the region to ensure capacity crowds.