MBOMBELA STADIUM OPENS ON WINNING START

Mbombela Stadium has been officially unveiled to the world after South Africa stormed to a 4 -0 victory over Thailand yesterday.

30,000 fans packed into the newly built venue in anticipation for the FIFA World Cup in less than a month.

Despite hosting its inaugural match the stadium is still yet to finish its press area, executive boxes and stadium environs but is expected to have everything operational for the World Cup.

Mbombela Municipality’s 2010 co-ordinator Differ Mogale told Fifa.com: “I was happy to see so many people come to the official opening of this venue.

"And, we are proud about the fact that our stadium was completed on time giving us enough time to concentrate on some other issues that need to be finalised before the kick-off.

“We are now looking forward to the first game that we will host here."

The stadium has had the pitch dug up twice in the last year and came under intense criticism as doubts grew as to whether South Africa was the right host nation for such an important football competition.

However, it was a case of third time lucky as the new pitch laid a few weeks ago germinated well and impressively handled a fast paced match.

The 43,589-seater arena required a total of 5.5million man-hours to complete, costing $140million to build and is set to host four World Cup Group Stage matches.

Posted on 17/05/2010