Jordaan concerned about Confed Cup attendances

JOHANNESBURG - South Africa faces a major challenge to fill stadiums during next year's Confederations Cup, organisers said.

Danny Jordaan, chief executive of the country's 2010 World Cup organising committee, said they would undertake a major drive to ensure matches for the eight-team event in June 2009 would be well attended.

Soccer is South Africa's most popular sport but despite large television audiences for domestic league matches, attendances at matches are usually low.

"There is an erroneous perception around the world that South Africa is a country where cricket and rugby are the most popular sport," he told a news conference in Johannesburg ahead of Saturday's Confederation Cup draw.

"If we have empty stadiums for the Confederation Cup, we are going to reinforce this wrong perception.

"We have a major challenge to fill the stadium for every match not only the games involving high-profile teams."

The eight-team tournament features the six continental champions plus World Cup winners Italy and hosts South Africa. It is a test event for the 2010 World Cup finals.

Brazil, Italy and Spain are among the major attractions while Iraq, New Zealand and the United States are also participating in the June 14-28 tournament.