FIFA World Cup Group D focus: Cities Stadia
A brief look at the cities and stadia the Qantas Socceroos will be playing at
Where we-re playing:
Group D match v Germany 14th June Durban: Moses Mabhida Stadium Capacity: 70,000
The stadium is located in KwaZulu Natal in South Africa-s third largest city on the grounds of the King's Park Soccer Stadium which was demolished in 2006.
Durban is home to two of the top South African clubs Golden Arrows and Maitzburg United.
The stadium is named after Moses Mabhida, a former General Secretary of the South African Communist Party. It was only finished last year and is one of the most eye catching venues in the country.
The stadium will have the capacity to hold 70,000 spectators during South Africa 2010 and should be filled regularly with a population of three million in near vicinity.
Its design bares some similarities to England's Wembley Stadium, and features a 350m long free span arch that will transform the Durban skyline.
Visitors can take a cable car to the viewing platform which is a staggering 106m above the pitch.
Durban-s beautiful coastal shoreline means it-s a mecca for tourists with its golden beaches and warmer waters. It-s also a major port for the entire country and so has a vibrant shipyard.
Aside from its current functions, it is also known as the traditional home of the Zulu tribe and the nearby national parks feature artwork dating back thousands of years.
Group D match v Ghana 20th June Rustenburg: Royal Bafokeng Stadium Capacity: 42,000
The Royal Bafokeng stadium is located in Rustenburg in the North West Province and was constructed in 1999. The stadium is named after the Royal Bafokeng tribe who inhabit the platinum rich area.
Local top league side Platinum Stars call the ground home but there are also some Johannesburg sides who use it occasionally.
They are some of the richest platinum resources in the world and it-s situated near to Sun City, the African Vegas.
A smattering of minor renovations was all what was needed to bring this stadium up to scratch regarding FIFA's strict hosting guidelines. This relatively new stadium was originally constructed to host matches during the 1995 Rugby World Cup.
A major significant renovation was the addition of two rows of seats encircling the stadiums second tier which increased the capacity by 4,000. In addition, new flood lights, electronic scoreboard and sound system were installed. These renovations increased it's over all capacity to a modest 42,000 spectators.
The city itself sits at the foothills of the nearby Magaliasberg range and is one of the wealthiest areas in the country, thanks to the mining industry. Tourism is now becoming a huge employer as the area is close to Johannesburg and is an area of natural beauty.
Group D match v Serbia 24th June Nelspruit: Mbombela Stadium Capacity: 46,000
The Mbombela Stadium was constructed approximately seven kilometers north of Nelspruit in Mpumalanga.
The 44,000 capacity venue is the first world-class sports venue to be built in the Mpumulanga province, and will feature a unique cantilevered roof hung from 18 giraffe-shaped supports.
The stadium is multi-purpose and can host many different sporting events as well as adapt to an entertainment and exhibition venue. It has the distinction of being the first venue to be completed for South Africa 2010 on schedule.
Mbombela, meaning “many people together in a small place” is nicknamed the “ giraffe stadium” due to its 18 roof supports which look like some of the long-necked inhabitants of the Kruger National Park.
Nelspruit is one of the smaller cities hosting matches and has officially changed names to Mbomelba, which will come into effect post World Cup. It-s main attraction is the world famous Kruger national park and is a must for all visitors.
It-s also close to Mozambique and Swaziland so is a good centre for travelers wanting to go to any of these areas.
The warm-up matches against Denmark and USA are to be played at the Ruimsig Stadium in Roodenpoort but this is not a venue at the tournament. The squad-s main training base is also there.
Qantas Socceroos and fans travel
The Qantas Socceroos will be primarily based just outside Johannesburg during the tournament but will travel to Durban, Rustenburg and Nelspruit the day before the matches.
This will make it easier for them to feel at home and have a base for the entire tournament and travel to the cities to play their games only. They will fly to Nelspruit and Durban for the matches but bus to Rustenburg as it-s very close to Johannesburg.
Should we qualify for the second round and go further into the competition, potential matches (in Cape Town for example) would require the team to fly as the distances involved are fairly large.
Fans will use a variety of methods of travel. There are reliable (if not speedy) train services between all the major cities and it should be a reasonable service throughout the tournament.
There are also buses from city to city and within the cities there will be bus and train services. However, safety is an issue so when travelling at night, try and avoid dangerous areas. Fans should contact authorities to see which areas to avoid at night.
Aside from renting a car and driving large distances, there are also internal flights from all the major centres so transport shouldn-t be too difficult throughout the tournament. Bare in mind that it-s going to be busy though and booking is always advised.
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