final look-in

All reports by Ramatsiyi Moholoa

All reports by Ramatsiyi Moholoa

Top South African government and soccer leaders will be visiting Port Elizabeth on April 3 for a thorough inspection of the Nelson Mandela Bay Sports Centre.

The same leaders, who are members of the Local Organising Committee's executive, will also hold a meeting in the Friendly City on the same day.

The soccer leaders are PSL chairman Irvin Khoza as convenor, Safa president Molefi Oliphant and LOC chief executive officer Danny Jordaan.

The politicians are Sydney Mufamadi (Minister of Local Government), Jabu Moleketi (Deputy Minister of Finance), Makhenkensi Stofile (Minister of Sports and Recreation) and Essop Pahad (Minister in the Presidency).

The Nelson Mandela Sports Centre is the only stadium which is being built from scratch that will host both the 2009 Confederations Cup and the 2010 World Cup.

While everything looks bright for the hosting of the World Cup, there are concerns that the facility might not be completed in time for the Confederations Cup.

This has put the municipality under intense pressure to meet the deadline set by Fifa to show their seriousness of hosting the World Cup or lose out on the golden opportunity.

At its last board meeting last month, Fifa made it clear that they would resort to the original plan of using four venues if Port Elizabeth do not meet the deadlines.

Fifa will decide on the fate of the Port Elizabeth stadium at its board meeting on April 28 and 29 where its general secretary Jerome Valcke is a participant.

Jordaan said: "The LOC exco will be going to Port Elizabeth for an inspection of the stadium ahead of the board meeting on April 28 and 29.

"Port Elizabeth is the only new stadium that will be built in 24 months, it has never happened anywhere in the world.

"Even at the Olympics, workers were busy with the final touches a few days before the start of the event.

"It happened in Germany (which hosted the 2006 World Cup) where they were still painting walls and putting up doors some days before the start of the tournament.

"The (Port Elizabeth) municipality is determined to complete the stadium in 24 months," said Jordaan.