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

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