"2010?" a young tour guide hollers. "We are the future!" the crowd yells back.
It's 11 in the morning and a group of shy, 13-year-old schoolchildren are being coaxed out of their shells by the lively guides at the Green Point Stadium Visitor Centre. The centre, built on the site of the old Green Point Stadium and located adjacent to the new arena, is the only one of its kind in South Africa.
The Visitor Centre offers short, entertaining tours, which include viewing the stadium's progress from an observation deck, a virtual presentation of what fans can expect come 2010, and a unique one-man play that delves into the rich history of the Green Point Common, the historical area on which Cape Town's incredible FIFA World Cup™ stadium is being built.
The centre's reception area is filled with historical photographs of South African football, and visitors are encouraged to wander around, before and after tours, to soak up some beautifully captured football history. An official architectural model of the completed stadium is encased in glass in the centre of the room and a foosball table ensures that even official business is kept casual and fun - much like the South African style of hospitality.
The one-man multi-media theatre production titled 'the Greensman' is easily the highlight of the tour. The Greensman, played by the effortlessly charming and sharp Apollo Ntshoko, takes visitors through the history of the Green Point Common, both mythological and factual. The story spans wars, crosses cultures and touches on the many incarnations of the area on which the FIFA World stadium is being constructed.
Like many of Cape Town's remarkable landmarks, what makes the Common so special is the variety of cultures that share in the area's dramatic history. The Greensman takes you briefly into this incredible world, and is a must-see for any visitor to the area.
A virtual taste
You can't help but get goosebumps as the theatre comes alive with sound and light, and the short virtual tour of the finished stadium is projected on to the large screen. Viewed from the ocean, the stadium pulsates with energy, lighting up everything from the 1,000-metre high Table Mountain, looming in the background, to the coastline that carves alongside the Atlantic Ocean.
Even virtually, the finished stadium, set in a space between the mountains and the sea, is an overwhelming sight. The tour ends with a trip to an observation deck from which visitors can get a first-hand look at the stadium during construction.
If you find yourself in Cape Town, be sure to drop by the Visitor Centre. The tours on offer are a fun, memorable and interesting way to spend an hour, and the centre is just around the corner from the world-famous V & A Waterfront.
There are also a series of bi-monthly 2010 FIFA World Cup lectures taking place at the centre. Everyone from FIFA World Cup affiliates to the architects behind some of South Africa's remarkable 2010 stadiums offer informative talks on a variety of aspects concerning the tournament. Just click on the link to Green Point stadium's official website on the right-hand side of this story for more information.
The 15-floor high, 68,000-seater Green Point Stadium will host eight 2010 FIFA World Cup matches, including a quarter-final and semi-final. The arena is on track to be completed by 14 December 2009.
The inner ring of the roof structure was successfully raised and installed mid-February 2009. The 4,500-ton roof, which includes some 9,000 individual pieces that make up the glass surface, is scheduled for completion in September 2009. The roof design is a world first and meets a number of strict environmental and technical requirements.
Other exciting progress has been occurring outside the stadium. The redevelopment of the Green Point Common - the area surrounding the stadium - into an urban park and sports area began in early January of 2009, and is scheduled for completion by March 2010.