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June 24, 2009

Soccer in South Africa

South Africa is currently hosting the 2009 FIFA Confederations Cup, an international soccer tournament held every four years. The Confederations Cup is regarded as a dress rehearsal for the 2010 FIFA World Cup, also hosted by South Africa - the first World Cup to be held in Africa. Expectations are high as preparations, stadium construction and planning for both tournaments have recently picked up pace. With soccer fever sweeping through the country, you'll find here some recent scenes of South Africans enjoying football as both participants and fans. (28 photos total)

Children play soccer in a field in Erasmia township on June 23, 2009 in Erasmia, South Africa. (Vladimir Rys/Bongarts/Getty Images)

Children of the Standerton township enjoy a game of soccer on June 12, 2009 in Standerton, South Africa. (Jamie McDonald/Getty Images) #

Kids enjoy a soccer game on June 21, 2009 in Botshabelo near Bloemfontein, South Africa. The large black settlement of Botshabelo, set up by the (then apartheid) government, is one of the towns that have produced soccer players for South Africa's Premier Soccer League such as Kaizer Chiefs player Ditheko Mototo. (Jasper Juinen/Getty Images) #

South Africa's new Soccer City Stadium is seen, under construction with the Johannesburg skyline in the background, on the outskirts of Soweto, South Africa on June 13, 2009. FIFA is concerned that some of the stadiums being built in South Africa for next year's World Cup will remain idle afterward unless organizers take steps to guarantee future use. (AP Photo/Denis Farrell, files) #

An interior view of construction work at the Soccer City Stadium, on the outskirts Soweto, South Africa, Monday, June 15, 2009. (AP Photo/David Azia) #

Casing is put in place on the outer beams as construction continues at Soccer City Stadium on the edge of Soweto, South Africa, Friday June 19, 2009. (AP Photo/Denis Farrell) #

South Africans play soccer in the township of Alexandra in Johannesburg on June 14, 2009. The Confederation Cup football tournament kicked off today with South Africa playing against Iraq. (ALEXANDER JOE/AFP/Getty Images) #

A young goalkeeper looks on during an informal soccer match in Soweto, South Africa, Saturday, June 20, 2009. (AP Photo/Rebecca Blackwell) #

A boy controls the ball during a soccer match in Soweto, South Africa, Saturday, June 20, 2009. (AP Photo/Rebecca Blackwell) #

A child from a Bloemfontein township walks with a South African flag a few hours before the Fifa Confederations Cup football match Spain vs South Africa on June 20, 2009 in Bloemfontein, South Africa. (YASUYOSHI CHIBA/AFP/Getty Images) #

South Africans wait near the stadium entrance a few hours before the Fifa Confederations Cup football match Spain vs South Africa on June 20, 2009 in Bloemfontein, South Africa. (YASUYOSHI CHIBA/AFP/Getty Images) #

A boy handles a soccer ball near the Seisa Ramabodu Stadium on June 16, 2009 in Bloemfontein, South Africa. (Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images) #

Children enjopy their soccer game the street near the Seisa Ramabodu Stadium on June 16, 2009 in Bloemfontein, South Africa. (Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images) #

A young goalkeeper reaches for the ball during a soccer match in the Erasmia township at Erasima on June 23, 2009 in Johannesburg, South Africa. (Jamie McDonald/Getty Images) #

An argument breaks out during an informal soccer game in a township a few hours before the Fifa Confederations Cup football match Spain vs South Africa on June 20, 2009 in Bloemfontein. (YASUYOSHI CHIBA/AFP/Getty Images) #

A general view of Ellis Park Stadium prior to a Confederations Cup Group A soccer match between Iraq and New Zealand, at Ellis Park Stadium in Johannesburg, South Africa, Saturday, June 20, 2009. (AP Photo/Antonio Calanni) #

A child looks on while holding a soccer ball at the Mogwase Stadium while waiting for the New Zealand soccer team to arrive for their Group A Confederations Cup training session, in Mogwase, South Africa, Wednesday, June 16, 2009. (AP Photo/Vadim Ghirda) #

A boy stands in the goal on the pitch at the Mogwase Stadium while waiting for the New Zealand soccer team to arrive for their Group A Confederations Cup training session, in Mogwase, South Africa, Wednesday, June 16, 2009. (AP Photo/Vadim Ghirda) #

Children mug for the camera during a soccer match in Erasmia township on June 23, 2009 in Erasmia, South Africa. (Christof Koepsel/Bongarts/Getty Images) #

Children pursue the ball during a soccer game on June 23, 2009 in Erasmia, South Africa. (Christof Koepsel/Bongarts/Getty Images) #

The shoes of soccer-playing children are seen while they take a break from their match in Erasmia township on June 23, 2009. (Christof Koepsel/Bongarts/Getty Images) #

Children play soccer on June 23, 2009 in Erasmia, South Africa. (Christof Koepsel/Bongarts/Getty Images) #

South Africa supporters watch the Confederations Cup Group A soccer match between South Africa and Spain on television inside their home in the Matholiesville settlement, near Roodepoort, South Africa, Saturday, June 20, 2009. (AP Photo/Denis Farrell) #

South African goalkeeper Itumeleng Khune fails to catch a ball shot by Spanish forward Fernando Llorente, who scored the second goal, during the Fifa Confederations Cup football match Spain vs South Africa on June 20, 2009 at the Free State Stadium in Bloemfontein. Spain won 2-0 but both teams qualified for the next stage of the tournament. (PIERRE-PHILIPPE MARCOU/AFP/Getty Images) #

Children are seen during an informal soccer game in Soweto, South Africa, Saturday, June 20, 2009. (AP Photo/Vadim Ghirda) #

A boy works on his ball-handling in Erasmia township on June 23, 2009. (Christof Koepsel/Bongarts/Getty Images) #

All eyes on the ball as children play soccer in Soweto on June 12, 2009 two days ahead of the opening match of the FIFA Confederations Cup in Johannesburg. (YASUYOSHI CHIBA/AFP/Getty Images) #

Children kick up dust as they vie for a soccer ball in Erasmia township on June 23, 2009. (Vladimir Rys/Bongarts/Getty Images) #

 
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