27 April 2009

Viewing screens going in.

The big news on site is that the new replay screens are being installed. Floodlights and other electronic equipment are also being put in place. Otherwise a similar scene from last weekend with a bit more cladding having been done and almost all PTFE membranes having been installed. There are now only 3 girders on which cladding has not yet started. 10 girders in all still need cladding completion. Around the stadium, roads are being dug up to be relayed and earthworks are being done for the landscaping of the precinct. The new pedestrian bridge is now almost complete, with paving progressing smoothly.

18 April 2009

Progress in Nelspruit and PE

Some pictures of the progress in Nelspruit and PE. Mbombela Stadium in Nelspruit and, of course our very own NMB Stadium in PE. The aerial of PE's stadium below will take your breath away when viewed at full size.

Beautiful aerial. Courtesy: Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality.

Big screen in place. Excellent progress in Nelspruit.

Roof sheeting.

Looking towards the near-complete stand. Last 3 pictures courtesy of Tadpolefarm from SkyscraperCity.

15 April 2009

The Crown

The stadium from a vantage point is starting to look like a crown. A crown of girders interlinking with PTFE membane.

The crown from a distance. Could also possibly be likened to a mushroom.

The vantage point gave us a full idea of the scale of this structure now with roof girders in place.

Linking pedestrian bridge progressing well.

Attachments to go beneath the PTFE membrane (In the open 'V' shaped space). They are hollow, tubular attachments and my thought is that they could be used to collect water.

12 April 2009

The good old days...

Bafana Bafana. Many South Africans cringe when they hear these words. It is a sad fact that at the moment, in a sports mad country like ours, Bafana Bafana is the one national team of ours that doesn't measure up to world standards. Our cricket and rugby are both near the pinnacle of the world game. Our football team however comes in at a lowly 77th on the FIFA World Rankings.

2010 is now around the corner. If 2010 is around the corner, then Confed 2009 is a couple of houses down the street. Stadia, beautiful, splendid stadia, are nearly ready for these global showpieces and will be ready in time. They are houses of excellence and I can say, without a shadow of a doubt, that the stadia we are building for the 2010 FIFA World CupTM, will be the greatest ever set of stadia used in a FIFA World Cup. They are absolute masterpieces, and as they near completion, my job as a blogger on this blog is almost done...

Not quite. My job now is to heighten excitement in the lead up to the World Cup. This tournament is, for many South Africans, a once in a lifetime experience that needs to be grabbed with both hands.

But what makes an experience? What made the 1995 Rugby World Cup hosted on our soil the amazing, unforgettable experience that it was for millions of South Africans? What made Afcon 1996 so outstanding? Our national teams performed. In a tournament on home soil, for that tournament to be a success, the national team must perform. The Cricket World Cup 2003 was a bit of a damp squib in the end. Why? Because The Proteas were knocked out in the first round.

The national team must do well. Bafana Bafana must do well and all South Africans need to get behind them.

Impossible, the sceptics say. Not quite. Deeply entrenched within its mind, our national football team has the ability. It was written off before Afcon 1996. It went on to win. It qualified for our first ever FIFA World Cup in 1998, at its first attempt. It has lost in the dying minutes to top teams like Spain, Brazil and others. It has beaten top teams. It has the ability. That ability needs to be reawakened like a sleeping giant that rises up and takes on the world. Our team needs to be reminded that it can perform on the world stage. We need to be reminded that our team can perform and win.

What better place, what better time than now. Now on home soil, in these tournaments, let all South Africans get behind Bafana Bafana like we all got behind the Springboks in 1995 (Another team that was written off before the tournament). Lets get that fairytale going again. Teams are able to rise to the occasion when playing for the hearts of so many people. We saw that in '95 and '96, we can see it again.

I was pleasantly surprised to turn on SABC 1 yesterday to watch the final in our Afcon '96 victory. We played with a passion. We had a passionate coach in Clive Barker, who was whole-heartedly committed to the national team's cause. There were no vuvuzelas! People were chanting, singing Shosholoza to the rhythm of South Africa's rhythmic play. The good old days. South African football at its peak. 80 000 jubilant fans at Soccer City. Lets see that again. Lets get behind our team in Confed later this year and the World Cup next year. If we do this. If we show our passion, these guys will rise to the occasion. They will do us proud.

Eric Tinkler. Man at the back of the Nations Cup victors.

Mark Fish, centre in this pic, was central defender in '96.

Neil Tovey recieves the trophy from the great Madiba. Mention needs to be made of his height. One of the main problems with the current Bafana Bafana team is the lack of height especially at the back. Central defenders need to be tall to win balls in the air. The '96 Nations Cup victors had Neil Tovey, Mark Fish, Eric Tinkler and Lucas Radebe at the back, all well over 6 feet tall. Here Tovey is standing next to Madiba, who I checked up is about 6'3". Tovey is only just shy of that height. Perfect for central defence.

Another current problem with Bafana is the lack of a tall striker to act as a target man, someone who can win balls in the air in the box. Phil Masinga was that target man in 1996. As with Tovey, he measures up well to Madiba, standing about 6'3".

Look at this pic. If you thought Masinga was big, Mark fish is at least 2 inches taller than him. A successful football team has big, tall men at the back, at least one tall striker and tallish men at centre-mid. The shorter, quicker guys are to be found on the wings. In '96, size was no problem with guys like Tovey and Fish taking no prisoners. Currently we lack size. We cannot be taken seriously as a football team until we get a few more big men.

08 April 2009

Check out Broadband Evolution. The associate blog that gives you the lowdown on SA's movement towards cheaper internet.

06 April 2009

Completion imminent.

With the full western side practically complete, one can get a true idea of the completed stadium when viewed across the lake. The pictures below show that view across the lake, giving one the feeling that completion really is imminent. The structure is breathtaking, the roof a masterpiece. Brilliance by the engineers and architects.

The completed side.

The incomplete section. In the foreground, roadworks are visible.

Landscaping going on at the northern end of the stadium.

Another view across the lake. Imagine the view at night!

A number of girders still need to be cladded.

04 April 2009

Waiting for the world

The eyes of the world are on South Africa, make no mistake about it.

This week it was reported that more than 1,6 million applications had been submitted for tickets for the 2010 World Cup when the first phase of sales ended. These were from 205 countries around the world. That is massive. That sort of global interest cannot be underestimated. Rugby and cricket world cups are diminutive by comparison.

You only have to read the sports pages of the newspaper, or websites, or to visit the Fifa 2010 website to realise that South Africa is at the epicentre of global football interest. As the qualifying stages intensify, we read things like this, from the French agency, AFP: "Defending champions Italy were held to a 1-1 draw by the Republic of Ireland, while three-times winners Germany beat Wales 2-0 to stay on course for next year's South African showpiece." Elsewhere, you'll read from Reuters that the tussle to qualify in South America is equally intense. In Australasia, Africa and Asia the soccer world is fixated on who will be be among the 32 nations contesting the World Cup finals in South Africa from June 11 till July 11 next year.

So, as the world - and I mean THE WORLD - rallies behind its teams, it is now down to host country South Africa to make sure we deliver the event of a lifetime. And, as our latest update on stadiums around the country shows, we are well on our way to ensuring the stadiums and infrastructre will make this one of the finest world cups of all time. The great range of stadium designs alone, will keep visitors and television viewers entralled. There is a wonderful African feel to stadiums like Soccer City - the 95 000-seater nearing completion outside Johannesburg, which will host the opening game and the final, among others - as well as the giraffe-based design of Mbombela Stadium at Nelspruit. The intimate, classic lines of Port Elizabeth's lakeside stadium we've shown you in detail as it nears completion, while the flowing lines of the new venues in Durban and Cape Town are, to use a cliche, awesome.

Here is a pictorial update of those stadiums, as global excitement and expectancy mounts ahead of this spectacle, which is now just over 14 months away.

You'll see, below, 60-ton roof girders being installed ON A CABLE in Cape Town, views of the landmark arch in Durban, and close-ups of the calabash-inspired facade in Joburg, and the completed Royal Bafokeng and Free State stadiums (a revamped Ellis Park is also ready). We also show video screen installation and testing at Mbombela . . .

All in all, great progress is being made across the country in the final push ahead of a spectacle that will place South Africa firmly on the map.

Soccer City, Soweto, Johannesburg

Soccer City, the calabash facade, coming together for the opening. Courtesy: Tadpolefarm

Mbombela Stadium, Nelspruit

Picture of completed stadium.

Video screen being tested, before being lifted.

Mbombela video screen - to be located on either side behind the goals. Courtesy: Tadpolefarm.

Green Point Stadium, Cape Town

Absolute engineering feat going on at Green Point. As quoted from a fellow forumer on SkyscraperCity, "The bottom chord of the truss is a cable. The truss will only fit if that cable is given its downward bow of its final shape under its 60-ton final load. To do this they must stress it to the correct shape with the 5 tie down cables at each node. All while one crane holds the truss. Crane 2 holds the mancage. The tension ring and bottom chord cable are surveyed and tensioned all done safely..." Thanks to Vrystaat for your passion, and to the Cape Town municipal website for the pictures.

Moses Mabhida Stadium, Durban

Spot the arch

View from ABSA stadium.

Pictures courtesy of: Mo Rush and Dysan1.

Peter Mokaba Stadium, Polokwane

Progress on the Peter Mokaba Stadium stands, as well as internal bathrooms etc. Courtesy: Tadpolefarm.

Free State Stadium, Bloemfontein

Absolute class. The upgrade to the Free State stadium puts one into a speechless stupor. The job has been perfectly done. All courtesy: Tadpolefarm.

Royal Bafokeng Stadium, Rustenburg

Pictures courtesy of Tadpolefarm