/ 25 February 2010

Fifa: Soccer City ‘still needs work’

Some work still needed to be done at the stadium set to host the opening and closing matches of the Soccer World Cup, Fifa secretary general Jerome Valcke said on Thursday.

“Yesterday [Wednesday], I went to Soccer City … there’s still some work to do but in terms of the pitch, its OK … you can actually have a game there. The stadium looks beautiful inside,” he said in Johannesburg.

“We decided to go look at the 10 stadiums, then make decisions if improvements need to be made.”

Valcke was addressing the media in Sandton following a board meeting with the Local Organising Committee.

The meeting resolved a committee should be formed to monitor all the pitches to be used for the tournament, said LOC chairperson Irvin Khoza.

“An example would be Mbombela Stadium, where the grass had to be removed because the sand that was used wasn’t good,” Khoza said, adding the pitch would be ready for the tournament.

‘All systems go’
The Cabinet on Thursday expressed its satisfaction at he state of readiness for the tournament, Minister in the Presidency Collins Chabane said.

Briefing the media on the Cabinet’s regular fortnightly meeting held on Wednesday, he said a progress report received on the preparations indicated “it’s all systems go”.

The report said upgrades at OR Tambo International Airport, Cape Town International, and Mangaung had been completed to world class standards and that the new Durban airport would be completed just before the start of the finals.

There would be a total of 46 public viewing areas around the country, additional power substations and generators had already been to ensure adequate power supply. Six stadiums had already been fitted with fibre optic broadcasting infrastructure, and the remaining four stadia would be completed in March.

“All of these milestones will be part of the lasting legacy that will be enjoyed by generations of South Africans for many decades, long after the World Cup has come and gone,” he said. – Sapa