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South Africa Proud of Soccer City Stadium

  • Reuters, Wednesday, June 24, 2009 3:15 PM
Built to look like a vast cooking pot simmering above a ring of fire, South Africa's Soccer City Stadium promises to be an unforgettable venue for next year's World Cup and one of the world's most spectacular sporting arenas. Costing about 3 billion rand ($373 million) the 94,000-capacity stadium resembles a calabash - a hollowed-out gourd used as a cooking pot or water carrier throughout Africa. The calabash inspired the orange and brown membrane that surrounds the stadium while a ring of lights will illuminate the bottom of the building.

When completed later this year it will be the biggest soccer stadium in Africa and is scheduled to host the World Cup final on July 11, 2010. Six days a week, between 3,000 and 3,500 construction workers buzz around the site, 6 miles from Johannesburg and on the outskirts of Soweto. Construction is on schedule, although costs have exceeded expectations due to unfavorable exchange rates and the price of steelwork, manufactured in Italy in Germany, project manager Rod Pearce told Reuters.

"It will be a dazzling monument to what this country can achieve," Pearce said. "I think it proves that we as South Africans, and Africans, can compete with the world's best in terms of what can be done here. There is no reason for us to think we cannot match what every other country in the world can do. This is clearly one of the world's most outstanding stadiums and will be a lasting legacy for generations of South Africa's World Cup." Soccer City stadim has roots in the country's sporting and political history. It is built on the site of the stadium that celebrated South Africa's famous win in the 1996 African Cup of Nations. And in 1990 more than 100,000 people rallied there to hear Nelson Mandela, newly released from prison, call for a unified South Africa.

 

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