15 November 2009

First international at PE's 2010 stadium

FINALLY, the new Nelson Mandela Stadium in Port Elizabeth experienced its first international soccer match, when Bafana Bafana played Japan on Saturday, and the venue for eight matches during next year’s World Cup – including a quarter-final and the third-place play-off – proved a resounding success.

With tickets all unreserved and costing just R30, the best seats – around the halfway mark – were already taken when we arrived an hour or so before kick-off. Our seats were nevertheless superb, with Japan playing towards “our” goal for the first half.

The atmosphere was fantastic, with the crowd in festive mood. And those put out by the vuvuzela cacophony can take comfort in knowing that a wad of cotton wool in each ear mutes the sound sufficiently for you to still enjoy being part of the throng.

By the time the game started, the place was almost full to its 48 000 capacity, with fans even taking up seats on the top tier.

The surface looked superb, with passes rolling along the grass like woods on a bowling green. Sure the match, which ended in a goalless draw, did not contain too many fireworks, but at least Bafana did not play ultra-defensively and made one or two scoring opportunities. The Blue Samurai showed they are a well-drilled outfit and were probably unlucky not to score on a couple of occasions.

But once again, three cheers to the stadium itself, which showed it will prove an ideal showcase during next year’s football fiesta. Roll on the World Cup!

With over an hour till kick-off, the stands around the half-way line were already packed.

Looking out towards the North End lake stand, with the orange players' tunnel just visible.

This Kaizer Chiefs supporter proved a great hit with the Bafana fans.

A giant Blue Samurai shirt and other Japanese calligraphy and images occupied part of the stand. It later made way for more fans.

The Bafana squad warms up ahead of the game.

With kick-off imminent, the place is starting to look packed.

A media scrum outside the tunnel awaits the arrival of the teams.

National anthem time.

Play is under way, with the Japanese on the attack.

Young fans blow their miniature vuvuzelas.

The scoreboard clock shows over 94 minutes have elapsed, with still no score.

24 October 2009

The testing of the ring of fire . . .

On Wednesday evening, the lights on the newly renamed Cape Town Stadium were tested. These lights, forming the ring of fire create an extraordinary view. The pictures below should give one an idea.

Pictures taken by Bruce Sutherland, City of Cape Town.

18 October 2009

Mbombela Stadium officially complete.

The Mbombela Stadium built for the 2010 FIFA World Cup has officially been completed. It was handed over to the Mbombela local municipality a few days ago. Now all that's left is for the surrounding roads and landscaping to be completed.

All courtesy Tadpolefarm, Skyscrapercity

08 October 2009

The Mbombela Stadium

Up country, in South Africa's Mpumalanga and Limpopo provinces we find what can probably be described as 'typical' South Africa. When foreigners envisage SA, what do they think of? More than likely, they think of wide open bushveld expanses. They think of savanna and the big 5. There are 2 stadia in this setting, The Peter Mokaba Complex and The Mbombela Stadium. It is therefore fitting that both of these masterpieces have strong African design concepts.

I focused on the Peter Mokaba Complex in my previous post. Today, I focus on the next 'African' stadium, the Mbombela Stadium of Nelspruit. This stadium, I must confess, is one of my personal favourites. It is a perfect rugby and football venue. It has all the luxuries of any state of the art stadium including: Multiple suites and press boxes, changing rooms, 2 big screens, 44 000 seats etc. What amazes about this build is the ability of the architects and engineers to entwine African design features with a beautiful, modern, fully functional, world class venue. For example: The stunning giraffe figures may, to the layman, seem like an ornamental tie-in to the nearby Kruger National Park. Yet this giraffe structure is imperative to the stadium. The neck holds in place the cantilever roof, the back holds up the second tier, while the front and back legs add support for the roof and second tier. A merger between functionality and African architecture that takes the breath away.

Other African tie-ins are: Zebra stripe patterned seats and multi-coloured walls, many with Ndebele design patterns. All this culminates in a great, intimate venue, in which spectators are close to the action and can feast on the great footballers about to grace our shores.

All pictures courtesy, Levi Guimaraes, Flickr.

05 October 2009

The Peter Mokaba Complex

The new asset to the Polokwane area is being well-received. Despite fears of the future use of this sports stadium, the Peter Mokaba Complex, when complete, will be the only world class facility with a capacity of 40 000 or more in the Limpopo Province. This province, with the highest number of registered football players in South Africa, has been yearning for a Newlands, Absa Stadium, Elllis Parkesque facility, and finally they are receiving. The burgeoning Polokwane municipal precinct, one of the fastest growing municipalities in South Africa is finally being recognised.

The stadium itself is simple, yet effective. It has an ingeniously designed roof over the main stand, with supports resembling a baobab. Facilities are of the highest order with all bases from executive suites to players changing rooms, to press facilities, to toilets covered. The bowl has been impeccably designed for the watching of soccer and rugby. Slightly concave stands, reminiscent of our own Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium, will ensure all attention is directed squarely to the field of play. A comfortable, world-class facility will welcome Polokwane residents with open arms, come completion date towards the end of this month.

All images courtesy Ranma Saotome, SkyscraperCity

01 October 2009

Exciting times

Almost all SA 2010 stadiums are due to be completed this month. The exception being Green Point Stadium, due for completion on December 14. Mbombela will be complete within a couple of weeks, Peter Mokaba should definitely be finished this month. At Moses Mabhida, seats are in place, roof is in place, pitch has been laid, literally leaving the finishing touches before the stadium's official inauguration. Obviously PE's Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium was completed in June. Green Point Stadium is currently undergoing facade, pitch and seating installation concurrently, preparing the beauty for the world spotlight. Soccer City is practically finished - seats in, pitch laid, facade complete. What's left is just the surrounding landscaping. Here are some gems of our nearly completed semi-final venues.

The interior of the Moses Mabhida Stadium. Courtesy ethekwini girl, flickr.

Exterior Moses Mabhida shots courtesy of Leftfoot, SkyscraperCity.

Green Point facade going in place - Mo Rush

And finally, perhaps forgotten, a link to webcam shots of our 6 new stadia as they currently stand . . . http://www.skyscrapercity.com/showthread.php?t=634069

17 September 2009


Apologies for the lag in posts once again. I realise posting is becoming perhaps a bit too infrequent. I plan to rectify this in the coming weeks with full updates from across the country. A week and a half long holiday from school after trial exams is just the ticket to fulfill this endeavour. Anyway, some recent Green Point Stadium pics and Mbombela Stadium pics can be seen below. I don't think I've posted from Green Point all that recently so the change should be quite astounding. Facade is well and truly underway and the product is starting to look more and more like the artist impression first seen about 3 years ago. Mbombela is progressing well, with landscaping, paving and the pitch seeming to be the focal point of preparations.

Pics courtesy Chris Bloom, City of Cape Town.

Picture once again courtesy of Tadpolefarm.

02 September 2009

Seating, grass and completion.

The following pictures of Moses Mabhida Stadium, Peter Mokaba Stadium and Mbombela Stadium all show stadia nearing completion. For the most part, across the country, seating is going in and pitch preparation is underway. Our stadia our structurally complete with just landscaping and finishing touches still to be done. It is quite astonishing to think of all the work that has gone into the preparations. 4 years ago, if I had said that in 4 years time there would be 6 new gleaming stadiums dotting the country, I'm sure many would've laughed at me. Yet here's the proof. All pictures courtesy of Tadpolefarm, SkyscraperCity.

The beatiful, perfectly African Mbombela Stadium. What a setting!

Seating and grass installation at Peter Mokaba.

Seats at the Moses Mabhida Stadium

01 September 2009

Waiting for the grass ... and BRT

WITH the Nelson Mandela Bay 2010 Stadium complete, the focus now falls on the earthworks around it, including work on the Bus Rapid Transit system in Fettes Road, south of the stadium.

A visit to the site revealed that the landscaping around the stadium is forging ahead, with reed-like grasses planted on several of the steeper slopes, while in other areas, particularly on the east side along Alfred Road, grass-planting among the many trees should start soon.

Remember this was once Prince Alfred's Park, a green lung next to North End Lake, so it is imperative as much of it as possible be restored to parkland.

We also found that, thanks to a deal struck between the taxi associations and the municipality, work on the BRT is going well. Indeed, Govan Mbeki Avenue and Kempson Road we found were a hive of activity.

A visit to the Newton Park indoor swimming pool showed it too is nearing completion. We hope at some point to get inside to see whether the pool itself has been upgraded as part of its conversion to an indoor facility. Work is also under way on the exterior buildings, including the old changing rooms.

But let's let the pictures do the talking.

A barren wasteland on the southern side of the stadium along Fettes Road is being landscaped.

Reed-like grass has been planted on the slopes next to the stadium on the eastern side along Alfred Road, while the flat area between the surviving trees is awaiting grass.

More of the trees - mainly palms - on the Alfred Road side.

On the lake side of the stadium there is much landscaping activity under way.

This is on the corner of Fettes Road and the lake, where things are starting to take shape nicely.

Pallisade fencing is going up around the entire stadium. Here is the Milner Avenue corner to the north-west of the stadium.

We have been fascinated by this old carpet which somehow found its way into the top branches of this grand old tree, which fortunately survived the chop. Note the pallisade fencing around it. The stadium is to the right, not visible in this picture.

All the buzz is about BRT, and in Fettes Road, to the south-west of the stadium, much progress is to be seen.

Another view of the Fettes Road upgrade.

Further afield, BRT work is going on rapidly. The buses will run in designated lanes in the middle of the road. This is Govan Mbeki Avenue quite near the stadium.

Another view of BRT work in Govan Mbeki.

The old Newton Park swimming pool is barely recognisable as construction nears completion of its conversion to an indoor heated pool.

Integration of the old stadium has worked well.

Another view of the interesting roof at the Newton Park pool. The old outbuildings in the foreground also seem to be undergoing refurbishment.