The biggest sporting event in the world! I have been so fortunate to be involved with some of the very best architects, designers, project managers, civil engineers, builders, transportation engineers, etc. over the last 4 years.
I have been lucky to be able to see behind the screen, so to speak, and all the incredible work that has gone into preparing for the FIFA 2010 Soccer World Cup in South Africa. It has been some of the most exciting, thrilling, exhausting, frustrating, few years of my life. The work that has gone into this event is amazing. We started in a situation where many people in South Africa, and elsewhere in the World were telling us that we could not complete this in time. Everything would go wrong. FIFA would remove the games from us. Basically it CANNOT BE DONE! Well, it has been done! In Port Elizabeth & Cape Town we pulled off the impossible, and delivered 2 stadia which are some of the very best in the world. During the period we had everything thrown at us (and still are from certain quarters!)
I have been concluding my final visits prior to the event, and I have been really impressed with how they look. Cape Town Stadium is beautiful, and is able to fit in to its amazing backdrop (which is no mean feat!). Nelson Mandela Stadium is prettier; looking like a sunflower, the amazing roof can be seen from all around PE. The park, and lake next to it looks fantastic. They are perfoming the final cleaning up.
There are still some small issues with both stadia, but that is to be expected. It will take probably a few years of tinkering to get them 100% (if indeed 100% is possible). But both stadia provide fantastic, safe, access for people with disabilities (which was our role). The road network has been improved, both cities providing accessible transportation for people with special needs (in completely different ways).
I am proud of our involvment, and I am proud to be associated with these two unique stadia, which will serve the local communities for many years to come.
I just wish we were not still battling with the nay-sayers at this stage. I always thought that the Brits would take the title in any World Whinging Championship (most Australians would agree with that!!), but I have decided that middle class South Africans will easily beat them, on any day!