| New Zealand’s Nathan Astle takes a break at Goodyear Park in Bloemfontein Wednesday as a security personnel keep watch. (Reuters)
Paarl: It’s not uncommon for those associated with the World Cup’s Security Directorate to suggest that even ants won’t be allowed to sneak into any stadia. On the evidence of arrangements at BoE Park, during the India-Holland game Wednesday, that’s no boast.
“Better be safe than sorry,” explained a burly police officer as he directed vehicles (with the necessary sticker, mind you) to undergo two checks for explosives: The first was with the help of a sniffer dog (a German Shepherd) — and we were advised to roll up the glasses — while the second, unbelievably, was on a ramp.
[So thorough is the access control that our driver, who didn’t have a personal accreditation, was initially asked to leave the vehicle. It’s after a series of requests that an exception was made. Still, a security assistant was assigned as a ‘shadow’ till our preferred point of hopping off.]
“It’s possible our ‘expert’ (the German Shepherd) can miss detection and, so, there’s this back-up,” the officer told The Telegraph.
While the ‘expert’ required two rounds and less than a minute to give the all-clear, the ramp-inspection took longer.
That, of course, wasn’t all. While everybody had to pass through a metal detector, any piece of baggage — even a lap-top — was put through an X-Ray machine similar to those at airports.
Quite an experience, then, for the uninitiated.
Incidentally, the Directorate’s Mission Statement reads: “...to ensure that the tournament is a people-friendly, yet secure international sporting event.” Well, nothing is being left to chance.
The Directorate, by the way, is working in tandem with the South African police and intelligence agencies. Apparently, Interpol is also involved.