Durban ready to host World Cup

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Pretoria - Durban is more than ready to play host to some of the biggest names in world football, says City Manager Michael Sutcliffe.

In a presentation to the eThekwini Municipality's Executive Committee (EXCO) yesterday, Sutcliffe said 13 000 temporary seats were being erected at the Moses Mabhida stadium to increase seating capacity to 70 000 for the 2010 FIFA World Cup.

The stadium which currently has 57 000 permanent seats will be handed over to FIFA at the end of January.

There are also major improvements around the stadium precinct, which include upgrades to the nearby Isaiah Ntshangase (Walter Gilbert) and Masabalala Yengwa (NMR) Avenue.

The new railway station built near the stadium is due for completion in March this year.

"We are putting the final touches to the stadium, a bungee swing is being tested and this will be operational within a week," Sutcliffe said.

At least five shops are due to open over the next month.

eThekwini Mayor Obed Mlaba said the Local Organising Committee (LOC) had chosen Durban as the venue for the World Cup 100-day countdown celebrations.

Mlaba said there was a possibility that the 100-day countdown would coincide with the official opening of Moses Mabhida Stadium.

"We are currently in talks with province and the LOC to try and include the opening of the Moses Mabhida Stadium," he said.

EXCO members agreed that Durban was geared to host a successful 2010 FIFA World Cup.

Zandile Gumede, who chairs Council's Masakhane, Grants-in-Aid, Non-Discrimination and Non-Sexism Committee said the 2010 World Cup preparations had proven to be a catalyst for township development.

"We have upgraded the King Zwelithini, Princess Magogo and Sugar Ray Xulu stadia and these will be used as training venues," she said.

There will also be public viewing venues in KwaMashu and Umlazi where members of the public will view the World Cup on giant screens.

Sutcliffe said safety would be very tight in the city during the event.

"We have already engaged 600 Metro Police officers to assist during the World Cup and 80 new fire fighters are being trained," he said.