R85m stadium opens in Pietermaritzburg
KWAZULU-NATAL has unveiled another multi-million rand stadium to show its readiness for the 2010 World Cup.
This weekend it was the Harry Gwala Stadium in the capital city Pietermaritzburg.
The newly built state-of-the-art facility has been constructed to the tune of R85 million from the department of cooperative governance and traditional affairs, with contributions from the Umgungundlovu district and Umsunduzi local municipalities.
It was named after late ANC stalwart and KwaZulu-Natal Midlands leader Harry Gwala.
To mark the official opening two local Premier Soccer League teams, the team of choice Maritzburg United and Lamontville Golden Arrows, locked horns in a bid to emerge with the prestigious prize of being the first team to record a win at the stadium. United won 1-0.
The stadium is one of several legacy projects for 2010 and can be used for training by any of the visiting World Cup teams, said KwaZulu-Natal cooperative governance MEC Nomusa Dube.
"We are currently lobbying a number of teams to locate in the province for the World Cup," Dube said.
"In time we will be able to inform you, through the provincial 2010 office, which teams have chosen our province, cities and towns as their base camps."
Dube said the facility meets all the requirements of Fifa football standards and will be used by the local teams, particularly Pietermaritzburg United.
It will serve as a major springboard for sports development in the region.
The province has been selected to play host to the 100th day celebration (2 March 2010) countdown to the World Cup kickoff and the stadium launch is a build-up to the celebrations.