12 March 2009
The last of 36 roof truss girders was fitted on Port Elizabeth’s 2010 Fifa World Cup stadium on Wednesday as the venue neared completion.
With 15 months left before the World Cup kick-off, the R1.7-billion stadium is well ahead of South Africa’s other built-from-scratch stadiums for 2010, and will be the first to be completed ahead of the Fifa Confederations Cup in June.
“When South Africa made a promise to host the biggest event in the world in 2004, we were sure to deliver on that promise,” the metropolitan municipality said in a statement. “The delivery of the Nelson Mandela bay multi-purpose stadium in May 2009 will be a big step in that process.”
British and Irish Lions
The stadium will seat 44 000, while an extra 4 000 seats will be temporarily installed for the World Cup. This capacity will ensure that the stadium is able to host eight World Cup games, including a third- and fourth-place playoff and a quarterfinal.
The municipality said the handing over of the stadium would be held at the end of April, and several games were lined up to test the stadium when it becomes operational in May.
The first trial game is planned for that month, while the first full-capacity match will be staged on 16 June, when the British and Irish Lions will play an Eastern Cape coastal team.
World Cup host
The stadium building is approximately 40 metres high and consists of six levels on the western side in addition to five on each of the north, south and east stands.
Two big viewing screens will be installed for the live viewing of events, as well as two conference rooms capable of accommodating 200 people, the municipality said. There will be 23 private boxes with a planned additional 22 private boxes, including two bars, as part of the post-World Cup building.
There are four ramps for easy wheelchair access, 74 toilet blocks and 32 colour-coded turnstile gates.
According to the municipality, all aspects of the project have factored in energy efficiency. These include energy-saving designs, a building management system, temperature control and reduced energy consumption rates.
“The bulk sewer and bulk water line to service the stadium development has also been completed. The playing field is natural grass, with the outer and surrounding areas consisting of artificial turf.”
With most of the hard work nearly done, members of the council took on local team Bay United in an exhibition kick-about match to commemorate the placement of the last girder on Wednesday – laying claim to being the first players to run out on a World Cup stadium pitch.
For the municipality, the progress on the stadium allows the city to shift its focus away from capital projects such as stadium construction to concentrate on building up excitement among residents for the 2010 Fifa World Cup.
The city will soon embark on an aggressive marketing campaign, and will this week officially launch the Nelson Mandela Bay/Port Elizabeth 2010 Fifa World Cup poster.
“We can now re-focus our attention and energy on other areas, such as the beautification of our streets, accommodation, tourism and marketing,” said the municipality.