forging ahead

All reports by Ramatsiyi Moholoa

All reports by Ramatsiyi Moholoa

The owners of Royal Bafokeng Stadium in Phokeng, North West, are pleased that the upgrading of the facility is well on track for both the 2009 Confederations Cup and 2010 World Cup finals.

"The stadium will be completed by December 15 this year. There is no shred of doubt about it," said George Khunou, managing director of Royal Bafokeng Sports, adding that reports that the facility will not be ready were untrue.

At its last meeting at Safa House last month, the Local Organising Committee board said the refurbishing of this stadium in Phokeng into a world-class sports center was a cause for concern.

But Khunou, a land surveyor by profession, said there was nothing for Fifa and South Africans to worry about as the initial challenges regarding the arrival of the steel for the roof have been resolved.

"We've got the steel for the roof now, they [builders] have started with the installation process and we are still well on track to deliver a great stadium for both the Confederations Cup and World Cup," he said.

"People must remember that we did not have to start from scratch, it is an existing stadium that is being upgraded. There is tremendous progress and everybody involved is extremely happy.

"The three parties also working on the project, the National Department of Transport, the North West roads department and municipality had a meeting a few weeks ago to plan for the construction of roads around the stadium.

"The tenders are already out for the construction of roads, the work will be starting soon. As the owners of the stadium, we are happy that the preparations for the two competitions are going very well."

As part of the renovations, an additional 5 000 seats will be added to Royal Bafokeng Stadium. There will also be a state-of-the-art electronic scoreboard and advertising boards around the stadium.

Khunou, who is also the chairman of Premiership side Platinum Stars, said dressing rooms, VVIP, VIP and media lounges were also being renovated in line with the Fifa technical team's requirements for the World Cup.

Khunou said the process of relocating students from Matale Middle School - which will be used as a media centre with additional parking for dignitaries - to Phokeng Primary was also on track.

"We can't demolish Matale Middle School, it was the first school built by Bafokeng. We are taking the learners from Matale to the nearby Phokeng Primary premises, where additional classes have been built.

"They will start attending at Phokeng Primary in September.

"The process of renovating Matale Middle School is also going very well. The facility will be used as headquarters of Royal Bafokeng Sports after the World Cup."

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