Discussion in 'Sports' started by Obuntu, Jun 3, 2010.
Hii nimeipata kwenye mtandao and I felt ku-share nanyi pia:
Source: Sky News
Chris Skudder, sports correspondent, Rustenberg, South Africa
If there is one thing England appear to have got right before a ball has been kicked in anger at this World Cup, it's their choice of training base in the village of Phokeng, a few kilometres away from Rustenburg.
The stadium where England will play their first match
I was here 12 months ago when the facility was half-built and looking in danger of failing to meet deadlines.
But a year on, everything at the Royal Bafokeng Sports Campus is ready for the arrival of what the locals describe as "the most celebrated football team in the world".
Not as ostentatious as their lavish base in Baden-Baden four years ago, this is more practical, but still hugely comfortable.
Awaiting the players will be a new 68-room hotel, complete with four presidential and two royal suites, but more importantly six grass pitches, a gym, indoor and outdoor swimming pools, and an ultra-modern medical centre.
One of the rooms in the England squad's hotel
At nearly 5,000ft above sea level, the complex will give the players essential altitude preparation.
While England and Fabio Capello hope to keep their arrival as low-key as possible, the local tribespeople will make a song and dance of it.
The players will be greeted by African dancers and the King of the Bafokeng Nation.
The campus and nearby stadium where England play their opening World Cup match against USA on June 12 are both owned by the Royal Bafokeng Nation.
They are believed to be the richest tribe on the planet after the world's biggest platinum deposits were found on their land in 1924.
The wealth brought by mining has enabled the Bafokeng people to invest in projects like this.
The campus is comfortable but there is still poverty nearby
Of all the ten venues for the World Cup, this is the only one outside a major city, and the only one owned by a rural community.
Despite the tribe's wealth, there is still very real poverty visible near the camp. Tin shacks are still stacked up on the approaching roads.
But you get the feeling life is slowly improving for the local community.
One nearby school for example, looks modern and efficient, and its pupils smart and smiling in their pristine uniforms.
It is a strange area. What was once agricultural land is now dotted with platinum mines, surrounded by the ancient Megaliesburg mountains, where the oldest fossilised remains of human beings were discovered, now known as The Cradle Of Mankind.
Rooney, Ferdinand and co will make use of the training facilities at the campus
It is unmistakably Africa. The sun beats down all day, even in winter, and a short distance from the gates of the Three Lions' training camp lies the boundary of the Pilanesburg Reserve where the big game is not England v USA, but hungry lions, leopards, elephants and rhinos.
In one of the lodges directly opposite the England camp, one of the guests found a lethal cobra curled up on their bed. That should keep the England players on their toes!
Security, not just here but everywhere at host venues and training camps across the country is tight - there is no chance of the players sneaking off to casino-clad Sun City in the middle of the night.
But when it comes to match day against the Americans, England can have a long lie-in.
The Royal Bafokeng Stadium is just 5km down the road - less than a 10-minute drive.