â€œI think it will be absolutely fabulous,â€ said King Harald V of Norway, with regard to the 2010 FIFA World Cup, which would be the first time the auspicious sporting event is hosted on the African continent. â€œSouth Africans are renowned for making a good atmosphere in the stadiums, so it will be spectacular,â€ King Harald V told Engineering News in an interview.
By invitation from South African President Jacob Zuma, the Norwegian royal couple, King Harald V and Queen Sonja of Norway, would visit South Africa from November 24 to November 26, and would be accompanied by a delegation of government ministers and businesspeople. On the agenda while in South Africa, it is planned for the royal couple to visit the Green Point stadium in Cape Town, which is one of the two semi-final venues for the 2010 FIFA World Cup. Local Organising Committee chairperson Irvin Khoza would likely give the royal couple a tour of the stadium.
It is planned for the King to officially open the Cape Town Peace Cup, which is an under 19 tournament with teams such as Chelsea, Boca Juniors, Stabekk from Norway, and four South African teams. The games would be played at Athlone stadium, as the Green Point stadium is only scheduled for completion in December. The stadium, with a capacity for some 70 000 visitors, was an engineering and construction joint venture between Murray & Roberts and WBHO. The City of Cape Town has previously explained that the existence of the solid bedrock just below the surface meant that the Green Point stadium could not be sunk into the ground, and had to be higher, and more expensive. The bedrock also necessitated that a podium around the stadium bowl be built to house supporting services and the entrance.
The exterior would be covered with noise-reducing cladding, and the roof has been designed in such a way that noise would be reflected back into the stadium. In addition to concerns about noise, the stadium design addressed concerns about visual impact and financial sustainability that emerged during the environmental impact-assessment phase of the project. On a previous visit to South Africa in 1998, the royal couple expressed their keen interest in sport, particularly soccer. The royal couple visited Khayelitsha, where they attended a ceremony and sports meeting with participation by the physically disabled. Further, Norway was involved in a township soccer programme, providing funds for equipment and instruction.
Edited by: Mariaan Webb
PUBLICATION: Engineering News
AUTHOR: Christy van der Merwe
DATED: 26th October 2009