There are thousands of photos of Soccer City … but none of them have been mine .. until yesterday when I had the privilege of actually experiencing that space. Stefania, the project manager of Soccer City, has been a guest at Amanzi Guesthouse around the corner. So it’s thanks to Pam that she, myself and three others were given a guided tour. A word of caution, do not miss the NASREC turn off (as I very embarrassingly did), as to access the stadium from any other direction is challenging to put it mildly. Although I remain reservedly cynical about FIFA’s iron-fisted control and the resultant questionable trickle down economic effects of the World Cup, plus I am not a soccer follower, I could not help but be in awe of the stadium. It is a such an impressive structure. Lots has been said about the calabash shape of the 94,000-seater stadium as well as the 10 dark strips in the stadium seating which line up with the 10 clear verticals on the external casing of the stadium – each oriented in the direction of one of the other 9 stadia in South Africa, with the 10th to Berlin, site of the last World Cup Final. But the sheer monumentality and scale cannot be fully appreciated through photographs.
To walk up through the entrance way into the stands and have an unimpeded view over the whole stadium, empty apart from some workmen of diminutive proportions, was extraordinary. And to be there when it is packed with fans, amid the clamour of vuvuzelas, will be an unforgettable experience.