2010 World Cup: U.S. Government Issues Warning to Americans Traveling to W. Cup

Ron FurlongAnalyst IIMay 29, 2010

DURBAN, SOUTH AFRICA - MARCH 04:  The Australian team climb the stairs to their dressing room with a policeman looking on ahead of a nets session at Kingsmead on March 4, 2009 in Durban, South Africa.  (Photo by Hamish Blair/Getty Images)
Hamish Blair/Getty Images

The United States has issued an alert to its citizens warning of traveling to the World Cup in South Africa.

"Large-scale public events like the World Cup may present a wide range of attractive targets for terrorists," the State Department's warning read on their website.

"There is a heightened risk that extremist groups will conduct terrorists acts within South Africa in the near future," the report added.

The United States plays their first game at the World Cup against England in Rustenberg on June 12.

Back in April FIFA confirmed a terrorist threat made in an online militant magazine targeting the match between the U.S.A. and England.

The article claimed "how beautiful" it would be if a bomb exploded at the game.

Rustenberg, known locally as Rusty, is situated in the North West province of South Africa at the foot of the Magaliesberg mountain range.

Rusty used to be a haven for apartheid-era whites to gamble legally in South Africa, but more recently it has changed into an area popular with all races.

Near Rustenberg are some great game reserves, including Kgaswane, Madikwe and Pilenasberg. Sun City and Lost City are great attractions as well located close by.

Although it is said to be the fastest growing city in South Africa, and it has many tourist attractions, getting to the city could be a tricky situation for those traveling to the game.

Public transportation to most of the venues for the World Cup will be limited, and rental cars will often be the only mode of transportation. The State Department has suggested some safe travel ideas for Americans in cars, including leaving enough space between your car and the car in front of you when you stop, to allow for a quick exit should one be needed.

Of course, it is not like South Africa has no plans to keep visitors and residents safe. They are taking every precaution. They are adding thousands of police to help with the expected 350,000 tourists the World Cup will bring to their country. They have been planning for this event for years, and there is no reason to believe they won't pull it off flawlessly.

South African President Jacob Zuma said last month, "We must showcase our South African-ness and fly the flag that colourful with pride. We are happy that thousands of our people are already doing so. Let us show true South African hospitality and be courteous, helpful, and very welcoming to our guests,” he said.

He also said earlier, "We can now say without fear of contradiction that we are ready, if not more than ready, to receive those that come to South Africa...We are comfortable. But we will be vigilant."

The fact of the matter is, Americans have bought more tickets for the World Cup games than any other foreign nation. It would be naive of these people traveling to South Africa not be wary and aware of the threats.

But this doesn't mean they shouldn't come and they shouldn't come expecting to be safe. The world can not cave in to terrorist threats. One should be aware and cautious, but one should not be frightened away.

As President Zuma said, "They will come to South Africa safely and they will leave safer."