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Capello's World Cup HQ

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Simon Austin | 12:13 UK time, Friday, 18 September 2009

The small, unfashionable mining town of Rustenburg is set to be England's home from home during the 2010 World Cup.

It will be quite a contrast to their 2006 base, the boutique-lined resort of Baden Baden in Germany that was so popular with the WAGs.

England's exacting manager, Fabio Capello, inspected sites in Johannesburg, Pretoria and Polokwane, before settling on the Royal Bafokeng Sports Campus in Rustenburg.

Although the Football Association are guarded about their choice of base, and Campus spokesman Refilwe Mushi would only admit "we are in negotiations with a number of teams, including England", I understand England have agreed in principle to stay in Rustenburg.

Map of Rustenburg

With the Campus still under construction, the FA understandably wants guarantees the site will be be finished on time and to its specifications before signing a contract.

Capello's first priority was to find a base at altitude, because most of World Cup matches, including the final at Soccer City, will be on the Highveld. The Italian's other key considerations were security, quality of the training facilities, comfort of the accommodation and ease of travel to matches.

The Sports Campus ticked these boxes. Nestled at the foothills of the Magaliesberg Mountains in north-west South Africa, it is the highest of the World Cup bases, at 3,800 feet above sea level.

It is a quiet town, yet Sun City, South Africa's answer to Las Vegas, the Pilanesberg game reserve and some outstanding golf courses are within a short drive if England end up there and Capello allows his players any day trips.

Travel should be straightforward, with Pilanesberg airport only a 30-minute drive away.

But the biggest attraction of all is the fact the site is still under construction, allowing Capello to have the £20m complex built to his own personal specifications.

Reports in South Africa claim he has already asked for plasma televisions bringing in British channels in each of the rooms, an electric security fence around the perimeter of the site and superb training facilities with manicured pitches.

Former Spurs and England defender Gary Mabbutt, who is advising the organising committee on their World Cup team bases, says such requirements are not unusual.

"Most teams want single rooms for their players kitted out with wi-fi, plasma TV, satellite and Playstations," he told me.

"Remember that the teams are going to have one base throughout the World Cup and that their players will be spending a lot of time in them.

"They will probably also have a games room, where you have things like a pool table and table tennis. It's also a requirement that training facilities must be either on site or within a 15-minute drive of the team hotel."

Mabbutt spoke to the late Sir Bobby Robson and former Germany coach Jurgen Klinsmann to establish the factors that added up to a perfect team base.Ashley and Cheryl ColeRustenburg does not boast the same choice of shops as Baden Baden

A lot of teams wanted to stay at the Bafokeng complex, but England, and the 25,000 fans who are expected to come with them to South Africa, were the big draw for the Rustenburg authorities.

Gary Benham, head of communications for the British High Commission in South Africa, told me: "South African towns and cities are keen to host the big teams, and they don't come much bigger than England."

Tourist numbers in Baden Baden were estimated to have risen eight-fold when England stayed there during the 2006 World Cup in Germany, so hosting Capello's men would provide a massive boost to Rustenburg's economy.

The town is part of the Royal Bafokeng Nation, which is ruled by King Kgosi Leruo Molotlegi, the leader of Africa's richest tribe.

The Bafokeng's wealth is thanks to the luck of their territory straddling some of the world's most valuable deposits of platinum, allied to the foresight of their predecessors in acquiring legal title to the land in the 19th century.King Kgosi Leruo

King Kgosi Leruo is eager to diversify away from mining though, and recently unveiled Vision 2020, his plan for how to do so.

Sport is intended to play a major role. The Royal Bafokeng Stadium in Rustenburg is home to the Platinum Stars team and will host group games and a second round match at the World Cup.

Providing a home for the England team would be another major boost for both the town and its people.

So Rustenburg will hope it can persuade the uncompromising Capello it can provide the perfect base from which to launch his World Cup bid.

England would be well advised not to hang around in signing on the dotted line for the Campus, because the big teams are already securing their bases for the World Cup.

Holland have informed the local organising committee they want to stay in Sandton, the plush business district of Johannesburg.

Brazil are keen on Bloemfontein, where they stayed during their victorious Confederations Cup campaign, while the hosts are leaning toward the Parktown area of Johannesburg.

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