It wasn't quite around the world in 80 days, but an inspection tour delegation of over 50 operational experts from FIFA and South Africa's 2010 Organising Committee this week travelled 4,000 kilometres to six cities in six days to run the rule over the country's World Cup stadiums.
A FIFA/OC inspection tour delegation visited South Africa's five newly-built 2010 stadiums, Cape Town's Green Point Stadium, Durban's Moses Mabhida Stadium, Nelson Mandela Bay/Port Elizabeth's Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium, Nelspruit's Mbombela Stadium, Polokwane's Peter Mokaba Stadium and Johannesburg's Soccer City Stadium, which will host the 2010 opening match and final.
The group comprised of operational experts in the following areas: competitions, broadcasting, media operations, medical, volunteers, transport, logistics, safety and security, protocol, marketing, information technology, hospitality, ticketing and risk management.
With South Africa's FIFA World Cup stadiums now all over 90 per cent complete and with the final touches being applied the delegation was impressed with the progress being made on the country's ‘football cathedrals' - which will next year be the focus of the world's attention.
Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium (Nelson Mandela Bay/Port Elizabeth)
The stadium infrastructure is complete and the stadium became the first newly-built 2010 FIFA World Cup stadium to open its doors in June.
The 45,931-seater stadium has already hosted a rugby international tour match featuring the British and Irish Lions, as well as a derby between local sides Kaizer Chiefs and Orlando Pirates, which both attracted large crowds.
Work has now begun on the stadium precinct which includes upgrading the access roads into the stadium.
Green Point Stadium (Cape Town)
Progress on site is good and the speed of construction is impressive, with the project set for completion on December 14.
The roof structure of the stadium is now complete and work has commenced on the stadium precinct. About 50 per cent of the 55,000 permanent seats have been installed. An additional 13,000 temporary seats will be installed for the tournament.
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 in October.
Durban Stadium (Durban)
The construction of the stadium is now approximately 95 per cent complete and precinct projects, which include a 250 million rand upgrade of the beach promenade and a new train station adjacent to the stadium, are progressing well.
The pitch has been laid and the 56,000 permanent seats are in place.
The 13,000 modular seats will be installed by the beginning of next year taking the stadium capacity to 70,000 during the tournament.
The city plans to open the stadium and its cable car and walkway to the top of the arch to the public on 28 November 2009. A number of football matches and concerts are planned at the stadium in the coming months.
Mbombela Stadium (Nelspruit)
Mbombela stadium is now approximately 94 per cent complete. The 46,000 seats have been installed and the pitch is currently being laid.
Precinct works are also progressing well and infrastructure projects beyond the stadium precinct will be completed in the first quarter of 2010.
A number of test events are planned, including a tournament featuring teams from neighbouring countries Mozambique and Swaziland.
Polokwane Stadium (Polokwane)
The stadium is approximately 95 per cent complete. The pitch was laid in August and the last of the 45,000 seats are being put in place.
Precinct and infrastructure projects are progressing very well. Test events are being planned, with the first due to take place at the beginning of 2010.
Soccer City Stadium (Johannesburg)
The stadium, which will host the opening match and the final of the 2010 FIFA World Cup™, has now laid its pitch and the current seating capacity of 87,792 is in place.
Progress is approximately 90 per cent complete and the stadium bowl is expected to be complete by the end of November.