11 September 2009
Paraguay, which qualified for the 2010 Fifa World Cup this week, are to set up their base camp in Mossel Bay in the Western Cape province.
Mossel Bay 2010 coordinator Louis Harris, who attended Paraguay's 1-0 qualifier against Argentina in the Del Chaco stadium in Asuncion, said they would be using the city as their training camp.
Harris, who attended the match as a guest of the Paraguayan Football Federation, watched as the South American side joined Brazil, England, Spain, Netherlands, North Korea, Brazil, South Korea, Australia, Ghana and Japan in qualifying for the World Cup next year.
Last week, it was announced that the city and the federation had reached an agreement that the South American side would be based in Mossel Bay.
"The federation has informed us that we can expect that upwards of 6 000 supporters will follow the team to South Africa," Harris said, adding that the city would do
everything in its power to decorate the town in Paraguay's honour and to provide their fans with a holiday they will never forget.
"We're going to make sure that they become 6 000 ambassadors for Mossel Bay and the Eden region," he said.
Planning for their arrival is already at an advanced stage, with work progressing quickly on a new Fifa-standard pitch which will be used as a training ground for the team. The city is also teaching 400 locals Spanish so they can assist the team and their supporters.
Mossel Bay Tourism has also set up a Spanish website, www.mosselbay2010.com.ar
, as a replica of the city's main marketing site, www.visitmosselbay.co.za
Base camps countrywide
According to the 2010 Fifa Local Organising Committee (LOC), 42 base camps for the participating teams are to be established across the county, and 16 teams
have already chosen their favourite base camps.
LOC chief executive Danny Jordaan congratulated the team on their win, saying that it was no surprise because Paraguay has been one of the most consistent teams in the qualifiers.
"The people of Paraguay are crazy about football, and we look forward to the excitement that the team and their fans will bring to Africa's first World Cup," Jordaan said.