FIFA World Cup 2010 local organising committee chairman Danny Jordaan believes Nelson Mandela Bay is ready for next year’s showpiece tournament after Bafana Bafana's encounter against Japan at the weekend.
Jordaan, who hailed the city’s operational readiness as “a success”, told The Herald newspaper that, “We are happy that the stadium is ready for the World Cup. From the [LOC’s] standpoint everything went off well.”
The stadium’s operational readiness had to be tested because “we wanted to check if everything would work well under a maximum crowd,” Jordaan said.
“I must say, the crowd was wonderful,” he added. 44,000 people passed through the turnstiles.
“The Japanese enjoyed their stay in Port Elizabeth. We thank the city council and the 2010 LOC of Port Elizabeth for working hard to ensure everything was in order.”
Jordaan’s commendation has been emphasised by the announcement that Kaizer Chiefs will take on Cape Town’s Santos in a Premier Soccer League encounter at the stadium on Friday.
“It is great news that the match will be brought to Nelson Mandela Bay. Soccer fever has definitely hit the region,” SAFA Nelson Mandela Bay representative Boya Chetty said yesterday.
“History was made in Eastern Cape soccer when we had the biggest crowd ever during the international friendly, and it bodes well for the metro to have the game here. The media, the public and the business sector have played a huge role.”
Inside the 46,000-seater stadium – the first in the country to be completed for the World Cup – fans waved flags and blew vuvuzelas. A strong security presence was visible in the crowd, while police made sure unnecessary standing by fans was minimised.
Peter Pedroncelli, Goal.com