An Argentinian football delegation led by head coach Diego Maradona arrives on Monday to inspect the High Performance Centre (HPC) in Pretoria, the facility they will call home during the World Cup.

But football fans hoping to get a glimpse of him will be disappointed.

There will be no press conference or interviews and photographs are to be taken from a distance as “no interaction of nearness to Mr. Maradona will be allowed” during the five-day tour.

The delegation is the first of a number that will be in the city this week as arrangements are finalised for accommodation for the international tournament.

HPC chief executive Toby Sutcliffe was thrilled at the prospect of hosting the two-time world champions.

“For us it is fantastic because we get to host a top side.” Mr. Maradona’s itinerary on the tour includes a visit to Soccer City, two Pretoria schools and a Joburg school as part of legacy projects the team has committed to.

Mr. Sutcliffe said Maradona would inspect the facility tomorrow before running a coaching clinic with the University of Pretoria’s first football team and football academy.

“All the team wants is exclusivity and to be secure,” he added.

Mr. Sutcliffe said the Argentinians had said they would need about 40 rooms.

“At the moment the rooms are set up for backpackers. After the upgrade they will be similar to four-star hotel rooms,” he said.

Source:, 20100118

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