Just as the world’s football players have to be put through their paces in the build up to the 2010 FIFA World Cup™, so too do the new stadiums. And with just over 100 days left until the tournament gets underway, all but two have successfully hosted major sporting events.
While there are 10 stadiums in total that will host FIFA World Cup matches, five of them are new and one - Soccer City - has received a massive upgrade.
Chief Executive Officer of the 2010 FIFA World Cup Organising Committee, Dr Danny Jordaan, said there was never any doubt that the stadiums would be ready. "We always knew that our stadiums would be ready and not only that, we knew that they would be among the best the world has seen."
Jordaan said each stadium in its own right was a triumph for South Africa. "Soccer City is a marvel of design and construction and everyone who has visited this stadium has said it is among the best in the world. Green Point stadium must have the most picturesque setting of any in the world and Durban, with its magnificent arch and cable car, has transformed that city’s skyline forever.
"Nelson Mandela Bay completed their stadium one year ahead of the tournament kick-off and the Peter Mokaba and Mbombela stadiums will give the tournament an African flavour with designs which take inspiration from the baobab tree and South Africa’s amazing wildlife.”
Since the FIFA Confederations Cup, the Nelson Mandela Bay, Green Point, Durban and Peter Mokaba stadiums have more than proved their readiness. And with events planned for Soccer City in Johannesburg and Mbombela Stadium in Nelspruit in March there can be no doubt that all the stadiums will be match ready well in advance of the 11 June kickoff.
On 26 January the two Cape Town Premier Soccer League (PSL) teams, Ajax Cape Town and Santos, battled it out on the newly laid pitch of Green Point, in front of 20,000 fans. That same weekend the Peter Mokaba Stadium hosted the first installment of what will become the annual Peter Mokaba Cup. The tournament had an international flavour, with Danish club side Brondby facing up to South African Premier Soccer League sides Kaizer Chiefs, Wits and Supersport United.
Durban’s official opening match was held on 29 November the cities two PSL teams, AmaZulu FC and Maritzburg United, clashed in front of tens of thousands of people.
The Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium hosted its first major event on 6 June 2009, when the British and Irish Lions rugby team played a provincial rugby team. On 28 February the stadium will host a CAF Champions League match between Orlando Pirates and Gaborone United.