The venue for the opening and closing matches of the 2010 Fifa World Cup in Johannesburg is now 65 percent complete, Johannesburg’s 2010 World Cup office says.

Joburg’s 2010 co-ordinator Sibongile Mazibuko said the Soccer City stadium will be ready in time for the 2010 Fifa World Cup.

“We are proud of the fact that the last roof steel went up onto the Soccer City Stadium. A calabash pot which is a significant African design of our country is actually 65 percent done,” Mazibuko said.

The R1.5-billion 94 700-seater stadium is due to be completed in July 2009. Soccer City will host the opening ceremony, opening match, four first-round matches, one second-round match, one quarter final and the final during the 2010 Fifa World Cup.

The stadium will also boast parking space for some 15 000 vehicles once completed.

Located in Johannesburg’s southwest and only a stone’s throw from one of the country’s football crazy townships, Soweto, Soccer City Stadium will host the opening ceremony, and opening and final matches of the 2010 Fifa World Cup.

The original stadium had a capacity of 80 000 people; upgrades involve extending the upper tier around the stadium to increase the capacity to 94 700; adding 99 more suites to bring the present number to 184; constructing an encircling roof; adding new change room facilities; and installing new floodlighting.

The area around Soccer City Stadium is also undergoing an upgrade. Running north of the stadium is the Soweto Highway which has been widened and forms part of the City’s Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) system.

More than R120-million is being pumped into the Nasrec Precinct, in which the stadium falls. Here the upgraded Expo Centre will house the International Broadcast Centre (IBC), the nerve centre for all television operations and the world’s news agencies for the six week of the 2010 Fifa World Cup.

As part of the upgrades, the precinct will have a fully functional transport hub including a railway station. The rail system will serve future industrial, commercial and residential developments planned for the area after the soccer tournament.

Besides the rail station, the transport hub will have taxi, bus and rail drop off and pick up points. The total public transport capacity of the hub is projected to be 23 280 an hour.

AUTHOR: Simangaliso Zwane
DATED: 17th March 2009