October saw FIFA’s inspection team pay a visit to South Africa to assess the sites for the Confederations Cup (Ellis Park in Johannesburg, Loftus Versfeld in Pretoria, Royal Bafokeng Stadium in Rustenburg and Free State Stadium in Bloemfontein) and the World Cup (Soccer City in Soweto, Johannesburg, the Peter Mokaba Stadium in Polokwane, the Mbombela Stadium in Nelspruit, the Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban, the Nelson Mandela Stadium in Port Elizabeth, and the Greenpoint Stadium in Cape Town). Reviews were effusive, with Horst Schmidt, an organiser of the 1974 and 2006 World Cups, saying: “I think that Soccer City is one of the most exciting sites I’ve ever seen in my sporting life”. The visiting delegates did, however, also raise concerns around the upgrading of Pretoria and Bloemfontein’s stadiums, but were reported to be confident that solutions would be found and that the stadiums would be ready for use next year.

FIFA and the Local Organising Committee (LOC) also inspected the troubled Mombela Stadium in Nelspruit, which has been beleaguered by labour disputes and other disruptions. Despite this, the Mbombela Stadium Joint Venture was confident that the stadium would be completed on time.

Moses Mabhida stadium in Durban continues to blaze ahead, and is set to be ready by its deadline of October next year. This was confirmed by Julie-May Ellingson, head of the City’s Strategic Projects Unit, at the first of what will be monthly 2010 update sessions in Durban. Ellingson said a host of projects were planned for the stadium precinct, including a cable car, an amphitheatre, and 7 200 square metres of retail space, which would ensure that the stadium would continue to serve a variety of purposes after the World Cup.

In Port Elizabeth it was announced that the city’s Bay United would be the first team to use the new Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium. According to Nelson Mandela Bay 2010 Executive Director Errol Heynes, Bay United will play at the stadium in about April or May next year, after the stadium is completed at the end of March. The British Lions could also play at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium in June. The Herald also reported this month that candidates for the operating of the stadium were in the process of being evaluated, and the final selection would be concluded soon.

Birdair Inc was chosen this month as the roofing subcontractor to build a lightweight fabric roof over three of the four 2010 World Cup stadiums. The contract is for the Greenpoint Stadium in Cape Town, Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban and Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium in Port Elizabeth.

PUBLICATION: www.shine2010.co.za
AUTHOR: Michael Williams
DATED: 31st October 2008