Durban almost ready for SWC
Dubai - World Cup preparations for the South African city of Durban are on schedule and everything for the tournament should be ready in two weeks, the city's manager said Monday.
Moses Mabhida Stadium (Gallo Images)
Michael Sutcliffe, speaking to The Associated Press at the SportsAccord International Convention, said King Shaka International Airport will be open this weekend and the Moses Mabhida railway station just outside the new 70 000-seat stadium will be open in 10 days. All road upgrades should be done by the middle of May, he said.
"The infrastructure, it's all there," Sutcliffe said. "You are getting a vibe happening."
Even the cable car at the stadium should be ready to go this week.
The cable car, on a 350m arch 106m above the pitch, has stalled eight times since it was unveiled, Sutcliffe said. As a result, the South African department of labour gave the city 60 days to ensure it was safe.
Officials have since determined the problem as a faulty data cable and are replacing it. The cable car should be up and running as early as Thursday, Sutcliffe said.
The World Cup opens June 11 and the first match in Durban is on June 13.
Built on a huge natural lagoon in Africa's biggest and busiest harbour, Durban is billing itself as the tropical locale for the tournament. It has a year-round subtropical climate, sandy beaches and is South Africa's most popular domestic holiday resort.
The draw was kind to sun-seeking fans from Germany, Australia, Spain, Netherlands, Portugal and Brazil, who all have games in the east coast city.
Sutcliffe said the city's preparations for the World Cup should help it well beyond the tournament.
Officials have already locked in two football teams for Moses Mabhida stadium and are courting the Sharks rugby union team to move there. They are also talking about a possible Commonwealth Games bid and even an Olympic bid in 2020.
While he didn't comment on the status of the bid, Sutcliffe said bringing the Olympics to the city would be "brilliant," noting that it now has the new hotels, transport network and other facilities to support such a big event.
Organising chief executive officer Danny Jordaan said last year that he could envision Johannesburg, Cape Town or Durban bidding along with Egypt for the 2020 Olympics. The IOC's 2011 session will be held in Durban, and Jordaan believes those meetings could serve as a springboard for its efforts.
Bid submissions to the International Olympic Committee are due in 2011.The IOC will select the 2020 host city in 2013.