Stadium 'will pass the test'

The Eastern Cape government is confident that the new Nelson Mandela Bay Sports Centre in Port Elizabeth will pass the test for the 2009 Confederations Cup.

The Eastern Cape government is confident that the new Nelson Mandela Bay Sports Centre in Port Elizabeth will pass the test for the 2009 Confederations Cup.

Gogo Manqoyi, the province's department of sports and recreation's 2010 World Cup strategic manager, said they were encouraged by the pace of the constructors.

The Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality has reviewed their construction schedule in order to meet Fifa's deadline ahead of the LOC board meeting on April 29 and 30.

This was after Fifa raised concerns around the building of the sports centre, including fears that the seats would not be ready six months ahead of the Confederations Cup.

Another concern was around accommodation, but the municipality insists they will be able to provide more than 20000 beds in the city and surrounding areas.

Jerome Valcke, Fifa general secretary, said they would revert to the original plan of using four venues if Port Elizabeth failed to meet the deadline.

Irvin Khoza, LOC chairman, said their technical committee would offer all their expertise to Port Elizabeth to complete the venue on time.

"There is tremendous progress, everybody is working hard to ensure that Port Elizabeth remains one of the five venues for the Confederations Cup," said Manqoyi.

This comes after Deputy President Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka visited Nelson Mandela Bay Sports Centre on Monday to inspect the progress. Accompanied by Eastern Cape provincial and local government leaders during her visit to the site, Mlambo-Ngcuka said she was impressed by the progress.

At the same time, the LOC executive committee will be in Port Elizabeth tomorrow to do their own inspection of the progress of the stadium.

The committee, chaired by Khoza, will also hold a meeting in the Friendly City. Other soccer leaders on the committee are Molefi Oliphant and Danny Jordaan.

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