South Africa is to throw a ring of steel around Johannesburg’s sparkling new Soccer City stadium to prevent terrorists, hooligans or petty criminals from spoiling Friday’s World Cup kick-off. With around 50 murders a day, South Africa has a reputation as one of the world’s most dangerous countries and the build-up to the tournament has been dogged by talk of terror plots and hooligan fears. Few football fans need reminding the start of the last major tournament on the continent, January’s African Cup of Nations in Angola, was overshadowed by a deadly attack on Togo’s team bus by separatists. Around 40 heads of state and a host of VIPs will attend the opening ceremony and inaugural match between the hosts and Mexico at the 95,000-seat stadium. So with the eyes of the world on South Africa, police are leaving nothing to chance. Bomb squads, thousands of uniformed, plainclothes and mounted police officers will be patrolling both Soccer City and Cape Town’s Green Point arena where France take on Uruguay on Friday night. While a mischievous South African Airlines pilot flew over the stadium in Johannesburg as a good luck gesture when the Springboks won the 1995 rugby World Cup, stadia… Read full this story
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