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16.06.2005 Football News

FNB Stadium ready for the saturday's match

Raymond Yeboah([email protected])

The pitch at the Soccer City outside Johannesburg is primed and perfect ahead of Bafana Bafana's clash with the Ghana Black Stars on Saturday. Dennis Mumble, the stadium's general manager, says plans have been carefully laid ahead of the crucial showdown.

"I can describe it as excellent," Mumble said, "We have a full crop of grass which we planted at the end of April so that we can have a green pitch throughout the cold season. The dominant grass on this field is kikuyu but that's more of a warm season grass." Mumble says they seeded the pitch with winter grass again, which has now taken root and yielded a firm green pitch.

The turf will have to be firm this Saturday. It must bear up to pounding of African soccer giants, South Africa and Ghana, as they fight to qualify for the World Cup and African Cup of Nations. Bafana Bafana is currently logged just three points ahead of the Black Stars.

Lar! gest stadium Soccer City - at Nasrec, south-west of the city centre - is the largest of Johannesburg's stadiums, with a capacity of 80 000. Mumble says they are expecting a 60 000 strong crowd for the match.

"On the basis of what SAFA says the demand for the tickets has been, we've devised a safety plan. We have a very tight security plan and some changes in the traffic control system that we use," Mumble said.

Tickets are going for R20 each, but they will not be sold at the stadium, but rather at post offices. Part of the traffic changes will see motorists now being asked to go in a clockwise pattern around the stadium, coming from the western side. Nasrec road will be closed. Mumble has also promised that an excess of a thousand security personnel will be on duty on the day.

Meanhwhile, Mumble says the stadium - chosen as the main venue of the 2010 Soccer World Cup - is set to undergo a slew of changes ahead of the soccer showcase in five years t! ime. The two-tiered bowl will be enlarged from its present seating capacity of 80 000 to 94 700 for the event. The 18-year-old venue will also boast a new changing room complex and the installation of new floodlights. Mumble says they haven't begun the upgrade yet, but are looking at getting an early start to the upgrade.