The French Football Federation has confirmed that France will make Pezula Resort Hotel & Spa in Knysna its base camp for the 2010 Football World Cup.
France, which was drawn in Group A to play South Africa, Mexico and Uruguay, will arrive at Pezula in early June.
Les Bleus, who won the competition on home soil in 1998, appear to be the favourites in their group. They will play Uruguay in Cape Town on 11 June, Mexico in Polokwane on 17 June and South Africa in Bloemfontein on 22 June.
Keith Stewart, Pezula Chairman, said that he is delighted that after months of negotiations and visits from the Federation and FIFA, and following the World Cup draw in Cape Town, Pezula is set to become the home of the French team next year.
Says Stewart: “This is a fantastic opportunity not just for Pezula but also for Knysna. I believe that this event will herald a new chapter for Knysna as a destination. Les Bleus will bring a significant media contingent of about 200 accredited journalists with them plus an entourage of followers that will fill up the town, and the community will reap the benefits for many years to come.”
The team has booked the hotel exclusively for the World Cup.
Stewart says that the Federation was attracted by the privacy, security, luxury accommodation and superb facilities at the resort.
“We can offer them including excellent training facilities and a host of activities on site for the periods between games, including horse riding, canoeing, hiking, beach, spa, gym and golf,” says Stewart. “There isn’t another base camp in the country that can offer all this on one property. Pezula is also well-known for its personalised service and the team will be well looked after and made to feel at home while they are with us. We have even employed a language teacher to work with our staff members so that they will all be familiar with French by June next year!”
Stewart believes that the location, Knysna, was also a big draw card for the French. “Knysna has one of the most temperate climates in the world and is renowned for its scenic beauty. Moreover, it is easily accessible from all major airports in South Africa.”