LOC to inspect 2010 stadiums

By Nthambeleni Gabara

Johannesburg - The 2010 Local Organising Committee (LOC) will on Friday begin its inspection trip to the final ten stadiums to be used for the Soccer World Cup.

The final ten stadiums are Soccer City, Coca-Cola Park commonly known as Ellis Park, Loftus Versfeld, Peter Mokaba in Polokwane, Vodacom Park in Bloemfontein, Green Point in Cape Town, Moses Mabhida in Durban, Royal Bafokeng in Rustenburg, Mbombela in Nelspruit and Nelson Mandela Bay in Port Elizabeth.

The tour, in which reporters, LOC and FIFA representatives will take part, will begin at Coca-Cola Park, move to Soccer City and proceed to Loftus Stadium in Pretoria.

During a media briefing in Johannesburg on Thursday, LOC boss Danny Jordaan said they will also inspect the teams' training facilities.

Jordaan said during the tour which is aimed at wrapping their journey of building and revamping stadiums which started in 2004, host cities will make a presentation of their full operational plans for the tournament.

He said the tour will end in Durban at Moses Mabhida Stadium on March 3, marking the last 100 days to the tournament.

"We are embarking on this tour in order to have details at our finger tips before the kick-off of the tournament in June. However, we are hopeful that our stadiums are ready for the tournament," he said.

LOC chairman Dr Irvin Khoza, who announced that Board there were now additional board members, said the only stadium with challenges was Bombela.

"In that stadium, we identified that the sand and grass used on the pitch was not good and we've since dug the pitch to put proper grass and the drainage system," he said.

The new board members are Transport Minister S'bu Ndebele, Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa, International Relations Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane and current SAFA CEO Leslie Sedibe.

Khoza also announced that out of the 70 000 FIFA volunteers, 15 000 have been identified for the training which starts in March. The entire training of volunteers will be completed in April.

The LOC Board also took a resolution to establish an emergency meeting to deal with all untimely emergency situations from now until the end of the Soccer World Cup.

It is comprised of CAF President Issa Hayatou, SAFA President Kirsten Nematandani, Khoza, Jordaan as well as FIFA General-Secretary Jerome Valcke.

Valcke, who visited Soccer City recently, described the stadium as awesome.

"Inside the stadium looks beautiful and the grass on the pitch is green and in good quality. I wonder how Bafana Bafana will play during their opening match with Mexico on June 11," he said. - BuaNews