Saturday, September 5, 2009

The Moses Mabhida Stadium - Durban Preparing for 2010

Last week I was privileged to have a private tour around the magnificent Moses Mabhida Stadium construction site in Durban.

First, a little background; when Durban put in it's bid for the 2010 World Cup, they wanted a semi-final, but one of the requirements was a 70,000 seat stadium, and the ABSA Stadium, more affectionately known as Kings Park, and the home to the Natal Sharks, didn't meet the FIFA requirements. Nor was it suitable to be upgraded to 70,000.
Thus the Moses Mabhida Stadium was born. Whilst it will only have 54,000 permanent seats, it was designed to be expanded to 70k with temporary stands.

The stadium is a fantastic example of modern engineering, and during the construction phase has won numerous safety awards.

The arch is the key feature of the stadium, and a funicular will carry visitors from the north side of the stadium to a viewing platform at the top of the arch where they can get out and enjoy breathtaking, panoramic views of the city and ocean. The south side will have a 550-step adventure walk.

The current status of the project is that the main structure is in place, and the seating is being installed. The pitch is still to be laid, and as with any construction job, there are still plenty of finishing touches required. However, as you can see from the photographs, you can get a good idea of what the finished product will look like. And I must say it is magnificent.
There have been a lot of detractors to this project; “we already have a stadium”, “the cost has been prohibitive”, and so on. But the stadium, with its huge 106m high arch, has quickly become a landmark on the Durban skyline, and when you enter the stadium for the first time, you’ll forget all that. The giant arch bisects the African sky, and the light is filtered by the suspended roof. It is truly a breathtaking experience, and I can only imagine what it’ll be like on match day, when it’s packed to the rafters with passionate fans.
Well done Durban, and many thanks to Richard from The Official Durban 2010 FIFA World Cup™ Host City Website, and our guide, Sue.

For the full Album of photos, see this link.

Thanks for reading.