8 June 2009
With just over a year to go to the kickoff of the 2010 Fifa World Cup, the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium in South Africa’s Eastern Cape province has become the first built-from-scratch stadium to be officially opened for the tournament.
“For us, today’s first opening of a newly built 2010 Fifa World Cup stadium is a huge boost,” 2010 Organising Committee South Africa (OC) chief executive officer Danny Jordaan said at a “people’s opening” ceremony attended by 25 000 residents of Port Elizabeth on Sunday.
“With the four stadiums about to host the Fifa Confederations Cup ready, this brings to five the number of 2010 Fifa World Cup stadiums now complete a year to go before the event,” Jordaan said.
“And all the other five new arenas are also shaping up nicely to be ready well ahead of the event.”
Eight games, including a third and fourth place playoff and a quarterfinal, will take place at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium in Nelson Mandela Bay/Port Elizabeth, which will seat 48 000 fans during next year’s tournament.
The stadium will host its first competitive game on 16 June when the touring British and Irish Lions rugby team play a local Southern Kings Invitational side.
Jordaan praised the Nelson Mandela Bay municipality, saying the it was a “tribute to their project management capability, the construction company and the workers that they managed to complete the stadium in record time.
“It demonstrates the capacity of South Africa’s construction industry and our commitment to deliver on all our 2010 Fifa World Cup promises.”
Nelson Mandela Bay deputy executive mayor Bicks Ndoni said the public opening gave residents the chance to see first-hand the stadium’s “state-of-the-art facilities, experience its beauty, warmth and uniqueness, anda bask in the glory and pride of knowing that we are the joint owners of a truly world-class facility”.
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