2010 stadiums on track

Come May 6, officials from Nelson Mandela Bay municipality are confident that they will leave the South African Football Association smiling after world football governing body Fifa and the 2010 local organising committee agree that their stadium will be able to host matches for the 2009 Confederations Cup.

Construction of the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium began in April last year.

At the beginning of this month the contractor working on the 48 000-capacity stadium was ordered by the Grahamstown High Court to ensure that it is completed in time for the competition.

Municipality spokesperson Lawrence Schoeman said: ”Being the only new stadium to host the Confederations Cup has put us under a lot of pressure and we had to approach the court to ensure that deadlines are met. The stadium will be ready by March 2009.”

This is how work is progressing at other 2010 stadiums:

Ellis Park Stadium

Minor refurbishment will increase its capacity of 50 000 by 10 000 seats. It will host first- and second-round matches, one quarterfinal match and will also be a 2009 Confederations Cup venue.

The Ellis Park sports precinct and the Doornfontein and Ellis Park railway stations will be upgraded; a new 20m-wide subway will be constructed at Ellis Park Station.

FNB Stadium

The venue for the opening ceremony and the finals should be ready by next April, eight months before Fifa’s deadline. Sibongile Mazibuko, Johannesburg’s 2010 coordinator, said: ”The FNB Stadium is a 24-hour construction site, which is why we are ahead of schedule. We are very fortunate not to have had strikes but we do have problems such as rain that affects our progress.”

The stadium will have its seating capacity increased from 80 000 to 94 000.

Free State Stadium

Construction is behind by three weeks because of recent strike action by workers demanding bonuses. The contractor working on the stadium has raised concerns about the venue being used for Bloemfontein Celtic’s home games and for the Cheetahs’ Super 14 matches as it further disrupts the programme.

The municipality has set a deadline for construction of the 45 000-capacity stadium for August 30 this year, four months before Fifa’s deadline.

The stadium will host first- and second-round matches.

Green Point Stadium

Peter Cronje, Cape Town’s spokesperson, said: ”We have completed 72 columns on which the roof will rest and we have completed the seating of the first tier. The stadium will have three tiers.”

This stadium has a capacity for 68 000 seats for 2010 and nine matches, including one semifinal, will be played there.

After the World Cup, 13 000 seats will be removed to leave a multi-purpose stadium for ball sports, music concerts and other events.

Loftus Versfeld Stadium

The Pretoria stadium is undergoing minor upgrades. The floodlights, sound system and scoreboard will be improved and designated media areas constructed.

According to Godfrey Nkwane, the city’s 2010 CEO, the roof for the eastern pavilion, which was built off site, will be erected in two weeks’ time.

The deadline for the completion of all work is December 2009. The stadium will host first-round, and second-round matches and a third-place play-off match. It is also a venue for the 2009 Fifa Confederations Cup.

Mbombela Stadium

The construction of the new Nelspruit stadium, plagued by industrial action since last year, is just five days behind schedule, according to Differ Mogale, the Mbombela municipality 2010 coordinator.

”Workers are working overtime and we hope to recover the time lost,” said Mogale.

This 46 000-seat stadium will host only first-round matches.

Moses Mabhida Stadium

The Durban stadium has also been affected by strikes recently but the city officials are confident that the Fifa deadline of October 31 next year will be met. According to officials, more than 2,5­million man-hours of work have been completed, about 125 000 tons of concrete poured and more than 6 500 tons of steel reinforcement used.

The stadium’s seating capacity will go up from 54 000 to 70 000 and it will host first- and second-round matches and a semifinal.

Peter Mokaba Sports Complex

Named after the late political activist, the new Polokwane stadium will seat 45 000 and will host only first-round matches. Municipality spokesperson Simon Mokoatedi said it has been fortunate not to be affected by strikes.

”We are quite confident that the stadium will be completed by June 2009. We hope that we will not experience any strikes,” he said.

Royal Bafokeng Sports Palace

Only minor upgrades will be done to bring the Rustenburg stadium in line with the Fifa requirements.

Last month a team of Fifa infrastructure inspectors who visited the stadium raised concerns about traffic flow.

”We are going to build three roads linking the stadium with the major one linking to the N4,” said Nketu Matsima, the 2010 coordinator for Rustenburg. Capacity will also be increased from 39 500 to 44 000. The stadium will host first- and second-round matches.

It will also host matches for the 2009 Confederations Cup.

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Lucky Sindane
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