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World Cup 2010 progress continues to go to plan, with another of the ten stadiums ready for use.

The Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium in South Africa’s Eastern Cape Province became the first newly-built venue to be officially opened for the 2010 FIFA World Cup.

Speaking at the opening yesterday, the Organising Committee’s CEO, Dr Danny Jordaan, said, “For us, today’s first opening of a newly-built 2010 FIFA World Cup stadium is a huge boost.

"With the four stadiums about to host the FIFA Confederations Cup ready, this brings to five the number of 2010 FIFA World Cup stadiums now complete a year to go to the event. And all the other five new arenas are also shaping up nicely to be ready well ahead of the event.”

Dr Jordaan was present at the stadium’s ‘people’s opening’, attended by 25,000 residents of the city.

Eight games, including a third- and fourth-place playoff and a quarter-final, will take place at the 48,000-capacity arena in Port Elizabeth during next year’s tournament.

The stadium will host its first competitive game next week when the touring British & Irish Lions rugby team play a local Southern Kings Invitational side on June 16.

“Today’s opening of the stadium is a huge credit to the Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality,” said Jordaan.

"It’s a tribute to their project management capability, the construction company and the workers that they managed to complete the stadium in record time.

"It demonstrates the capacity of SA’s construction industry and our commitment to deliver on all our 2010 FIFA World Cup promises."

The Nelson Mandela Bay’s deputy executive mayor, Bicks Ndoni, said today’s public opening gave residents the chance to see first-hand the stadium’s “state-of-the-art facilities, experience its beauty, warmth and uniqueness, and bask in the glory and pride of knowing that we are the joint owners of a truly world-class facility”.

The stadiums in South Africa are being built well ahead of schedule, with some very impressive venues being prepared to host the World Cup next year. Watch this space for Goal.com’s Stadium Guide to the Confederations Cup, available in the next few days.

Peter Pedroncelli, Goal.com

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