World Cup Debate: 2010 Stadium Update – September 2009 examines South Africa's readiness for the World Cup, finding that the nation is well on course to have all the stadiums in place for the competition.
As the FIFA World Cup races towards kick-off on June 11, 2010, construction at the remaining six stadiums throughout South Africa is on track.

With all stadiums now more than 80 per cent complete, all that remains before they are handed over to the 2010 FIFA World Cup Organising Committee are the final touches. takes a look at what remains to be done at the six stadiums awaiting completion.

Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium – Port Elizabeth

On June 7, the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium became the first 2010 FIFA World Cup venue to be officially opened, a full year ahead of the tournament. The opening was celebrated with over 17,000 residents of the city attending. The Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium has already hosted four major events, including a British Lions rugby match and a Vodacom Challenge Cup match between Orlando Pirates and Manchester City. The stadium is a beauty to behold - there is a stunning affect at night, when the stadium is light up and reflected in the nearby North End Lake.

The external work in the immediate surrounds of the stadium are approaching completion. This includes brick paving, grassing of certain areas and the planting of vegetation. The precinct area around the stadium is also being developed. The Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium is adjacent to the North End Lake and as part of the development the water quality is set to be improved. The stadium will also feature a figure eight running and cycling track, which will circle the stadium and the lake.

Soccer City – Soweto, Johannesburg

The main jewel in the South African footballing crown, Soccer City sits majestically on a hilltop in Nasrec, Johannesburg. The calabash outside look of the stadium has been completed and paving around the stadium has begun. Bigger than the new Wembley Stadium, Soccer City will host the opening match of the World Cup, as well as the final on July 11, 2010.

Soccer City Stadium

The stadium is a beautiful site to behold, and considering the fact that it holds 91,500 fans, it will be one of the biggest ever World Cup venues in the history of the tournament. Currently the stadium is approaching completion, with 85 per cent of the work done. The ground is now being prepared for the planting of grass on the pitch.

Green Point Stadium – Cape Town

Despite early delay in the stadium construction due to environmental concerns, the Green Point Stadium is set to be complete by the October 2009 deadline originally agreed with FIFA. Once completed the Green Point stadium will form part of an urban sport and recreation precinct situated on the Green Point Common. The stadium itself is situated in the corner of the common. An urban sport and recreation precinct, which will include an urban park as well as a green area, practice and playing fields for seven different sporting codes, as well as clubhouse facilities, is currently being developed in the city as an additional legacy improvement.

The first phase of this project is expected to be completed by March 2010 at a cost of R311 million. Completion on the roof structure of the stadium is expected by the end of September. The pitch is being grown off-site in Stellenbosch and once major construction has been completed and the site has been cleared, it will be planted at the stadium. This is expected to happen in October.

Moses Mabhida Stadium - Durban

The new Durban Stadium has already become a dominant sight on the city’s skyline. It will also be linked to a major green space project known as the People’s Park. The park will provide pedestrian linkage to the south of the stadium, facilitating connectivity toward the city centre. On major match days, it will be used as a space to accommodate parking and braaing (barbecuing) after matches. The park includes two training fields with changing rooms and ablutions. Most of the major work on the stadium bowl is complete and the focus on this project has now shifted to finishes and external work. An interesting part of this stadium’s design includes a cable car, which will run along the 106m high arch spanning the length of the pitch.

The cable car will be able to carry 25 people up to a viewing platform situated at the highest point of the 2 900-t arch. The more adventurous visitor will be able to walk the 550 steps up the arch to the viewing deck, while secured in a safety harness. The roof’s compression ring is complete. The arch erection was completed in January and the cable net installation and the lifting were completed in April. The cable car installation was completed in July. The installation of the catwalk, of the membrane and the arch cladding are still continuing. The commissioning of the cable car will be complete in October.

Peter Mokaba Stadium - Polokwane

The smallest of the World Cup venues has an impressive stadium nearing completion as well. The Peter Mokaba Stadium is between 80 and 85 per cent complete according to FIFA. The concrete structure has been completed and the contractors are in the process of laying the pitch and installing the seating. All 45,000 seats should be installed within the next month. The stadium lighting has been installed and the finishing touches are being put on the roofing structure.

The Peter Mokaba Stadium

Mbombela Stadium - Nelspruit

Once completed the Mbombela Stadium will form the focal point of what will eventually become a sporting hub for the city of Nelspruit. The stadium's proximity to the Kruger National Park is echoed by its unique roof support structures in the shape of giraffes, as well as the seating coloured to represent the Zebra. The roof structure sheeting is complete, while the bowl structure, seating beams and all precast work have been completed. Generators have been commissioned and both giant video screens have been installed at the stadium.

The Mbombela Stadium

Work on the pitch, irrigation system, external paving, turnstiles and turnstile fencing, flood lighting, sound system, painting and floor finishes, spectator ramps, external cores, pedestrian and main boulevards, plastic seating is in progress. Two practise fields and a hockey field are nearly complete.

It seems that South Africa is well on its way to producing and hosting a memorable World Cup, and if the stadiums are anything to go by, it will certainly be a success.

Peter Pedroncelli,