Friday, June 18, 2010

This Time... For The Spirit

 This sudden interest in Stadiums was actually sparked by one programme on Fox History & Entertainment Channel where i chanced to see the programme called 'Building The Ultimate' which features building stadiums for the they have a series actually. It includes Aircrafts, Tanks, Submarines etc.
This particular one featured as i said earlier, Stadiums and building the ultimate one for the future.Later a blog by another fellow blogger on this particular Stadium that she took all the interest in, added fuel to the fire that had just started inside me.Only that this fire was to see and know more of and about these, "Modern Day Cathedrals".
She talks about the Allianz Arena in Munich which is the magnificient pulsating homeground for FC Bayern. and  this as well as the programme on the TV  germinated this blog of mine in which i try to educate myself in a way that it should stay clear in my head.
 Maybe now i can try and understand my son's sheer thrill of visiting and actually playing some inter university matches in the Waca Stadium in  Perth Australia.Today i can sense his awe, his religiosity when i am marvelling at the skills of the human hand and the genius of the human mind.

Karagre Vasate Lakshmi
Kar Madhye Sarasvati
Kar Moole Tu Govindah
Prabhate Kar Darshanam
This Sanskrit shloka explains the Divinity that resides in our hands that create, hands that work along with the intellect to become creators of substance and style in a manner that should stand the test of time.
And i wonder with all the research and studies and the best of minds at work if these 21st century Cathedrals will still stand as good as The Colosseum arena/amphitheatre in Rome built in the 1st century AD which offers not only the tourists a unique experience but also solutions to our 21st century builders as they crack their grey cells to build the ultimate.

Today as these structures are being redesigned, to hold even concerts, the game remains just one aspect of the overall experience that a stadium has to offer. Designing one, the engineers and the architects are focussing on special features and new services to attract and cater to a wide variety of people who attend the events there.
The Allianz Arena itself like many others have shopping complexes inside along with entertainment plazas, lounges and restaurants.

The Texas based NFL Team's new arena is supposed to be NFL'S largest ever and first in the U.S to surpass 1 billion dollars to build. i believe that apart from other innovative aspects the stadium will have 180 by 50 foot video boards hanging above the playing field to allow the fans to experience and catch more details and every expression, every smallest move.
Some... designing... this!
And more is yet to come when the enterprising human mind is on it's way to integrating stadium complexes into a mix of residential, commercial, retail dining and entertainment places. So i gather that more than the sport these structures are going to be spots where tourists like me would like to go and marvel at the design and the just get so overwhelmed by the visions transformed into reality.Also to get awestruck with all that hard work, all that dedication, all that research that went into creating such structures where not only entertainment is the key word but safety too is realised be it from fire or other hazards or NOW most importantly providing appropriate exits to minimise fatalities in case a stampede situation arose.

With FIFA World Cup going on and the sounds of vuvuzela horn along with Shakira's Waka Waka constantly around, my thoughts are on all these stadiums dotting South Africa where major upsets will take place. So i googled on all these stadiums and what i find will, for my use be chronicled now in this blog. Not for anything else but to have little facts for myself to feed my very own Stadium Mania.Just wowing at huge stadiums with retractable roofs to allow air and sunlight for the grassy turf will not do.Just gasping at engineers building grassy turfs which rolls to the outside for natural grass to grow and then rolled inside the stadium will not be enough for me.i want to see and know what all there is now and this is how i get to know and retain.

1.Peter Mokamba Stadium - Polokwane : Named after the inspirational leader much revered for his fighting spirit, Peter Mokamba.
City: Polokwane
Capacity : 45,000
Built : Jan 2007-2010
Resident Club : None
Match Schedule : 4 group matches
Polokwane Stadium

2. Loftus Versfeld Stadium - Tshwane/ Pretoria
One of the oldest stadiums in South Africa this stadium was the venue for South Africa's national team Bafana Bafana's first ever victory over a European side when they beat Sweden 1-0 in 1999.
City : Pretoria
Capacity : 50,000
Built : 1906
Renovated : 2008
Resident Club : Mamelodi Sundowns
Match Schedule : 5 group matches and 1 second round match
                                                                 Pretoria Stadium

3. Mbombela Stadium - Nelspruit
Mbombela is a siSwati word which literally means " Many people together in a small place".siSwati is one of the 11 official language in South Africa.This stadium is in close proximity to the famous game parks giving spectators an added opportunity to see the wildlife during days when they are off football.
City : Nelspruit
Capacity : 46,000
Built : Feb 2007-2009
Resident Club : None
Match Schedule : 4 group matches
                                                                   Nelspruit Stadium

4. Royal Bafokeng Stadium - Rustenburg
Reflecting natural features with it's saddle shape this stadium is named after the Royal Bafokeng Community which is an administrative entity presiding over the world's richest platinum mines.
City : Rustenburg
Capacity : 42,000
Built : 1999
Renovated : Nov 2005-2010
Resident Club : Platinum Stars
Match Schedule : 5 group matches and 1 second round match.

                                                              Rustenburg Stadium

5.Soccer City Stadium - Johannesburg
The design of this stadium is inspired by the iconic African pot known as the CALABASH.The stadium looks breathtakingly beautiful in it's aesthetic appeal when all lit up after sundown.
City : Johannesburg
Capacity : 94,700
Built : 1987
Renovated : 2006-2010
Resident Club : None
Match Schedule : 5 group matches, 1 second round match, 1 quarter-final and The Final.

                                                                   Johannesburg SC

6. Ellis Park Stadium - Johannesburg
Named after a Johannesburg city councilor JD Ellis who approved a full 13 acres of the land for this stadium,
now this one has what is called state-of-the-art media facilities in addition to others some worth knowing.
a) accessibility to disabled fans
b) a new pitch
c) top notch audio visual set up to keep fans updated
d) team whirlpools
e) top class VIP area for dignitaries
City : Johannesburg
Capacity : 60,000
Built : 1928
Renovated : 2008-2009
Resident Club : Orlando Pirates FC
Match Schedule : 5 group matches, 1 second round match and 1 quarter- final.
(But i sincerely hope after seeing all that study on crowd management while designing stadiums, that the renovators and designers remember that stampede that happened here on 11th April 2001 which left 43 people crushed to death.)
                                                              Johannesburg Ellis Stadium  

7. Free State Stadium - Mangaung/ Bloemfontein
Bloemfontein is poetically known as 'City of roses' owing to the abundance of these flowers and the annual rose festival held here.
This stadium is a joint home to Premier Soccer League and Bloemfontein Celtic.The Celtic fans are known as Siwelele a Sotho (Sesotho) term.Again Sotho is a Bantu language and one of the 11 official language of South Africa.
City : Bloemfontein
Capacity : 48,000
Built : 1952
Renovated : 2008
Resident Club : Bloemfontein Celtics
Match Schedule : 5 group matches and 1 second round match.
                                                              Bloemfontein Stadium

8. Moses Mabhida Stadium/ Durban Stadium - Durban
This stadium will hold one of the semi-finals of the 2010 FIFA World Cup.This stadium is unique in it's design which is conspicuous by two large arches which are 100 metres above the stadium roof.The design is inspired from the South African flag and the arch represents the unity of this sports loving nation.The stadium is a 'Jewel in the crown' of Kings Park Sporting Precinct.
City : Durban
Capacity : 70,000
Built from 2006-2009 on the previous site of King's Park Soccer Stadium ( King Senzangakhona Stadium)
Resident Club : None
Match Schedule : 5 group matches, 1 second round match, 1 semi- final.
                                                                 Durban Stadium

9.Nelson Mandela Bay / Port Elizabeth Stadium - Port Elizabeth
This stadium set on the shores of North End Lake will host a match for Third Place and a quarter-final amid a total of 8 matches during FIFA World Cup.
City : Port Elizabeth
Capacity : 50,000
Built : Nov 2006- July 2009
Resident Club : None
Match Schedule : 5 group matches, 1 second round match, 1 quarter-final and a 3rd place match.
                                                                 Port Elizabeth Stadium
10.Green Point Stadium - Cape Town
One of the most artistic venues for one of the two semi- finals for the FIFA World Cup, this stadium is a stone's throw from the ocean and the backdrop of this stadium is the enchanting mountains of Cape Town.
City : Cape Town
Capacity : 70,000
Built : Oct 2006- end of 2009 on the previous site of the old stadium which carried the same name.
Resident Club : None
Match Schedule : 5 group matches, 1 second round, 1 quarter-final and 1 semi-final.

                                                                  Cape Town Stadium

 This is my simple way at looking at the ultimate structures which throb with the exhilirated cries of victory or get silenced by extreme disappointment of the fans when their favourites win or lose.
i feel that although the history of a country may change but the buildings do not.They continue to get renovated to accommodate more.Standing as a mute witness to the narrative around them, they come to become the Meccas by the heroic acts or morbid Citadels of the barbaric or heinous crimes committed.In a way those who control them, live in them or manage them or even fill them up on various events, impart a new meaning to them.History changes and they represent something else.
The Colosseum which saw the dying gladiators and the last Christian martyrs now has become a symbol of the international campaign against capital punishment and only last year in April it was illuminated in gold when  capital punishment was abolished in the American state of New Mexico.

Now whether it is the Millennium Stadium at Wales or the lattice like Bird's nest in China or any of these that i have chronicled today, i salute all the white collared and the blue collared people who toiled relentlessly to create effectively functional as well as aesthetic buildings as these.
These structures which connect the solitary human being and the crowd, the everyday and the heroic...will i in my lifetime ever understand the full meaning of what they are trying to convey?Are these now architectural marvels or commercial adventures? For what i see on the television and the glossy pictures at the moment, it seems they are telling me," We aren't just built to contain entertainment.We ARE the entertainment."

And yes! as  Waka Waka fills the surroundings now, in my mind's eye i continue to associate stadiums with the spirit of conquest.Whether it is ...of the structure... the sport...the dreams and the hard labour to achieve those dreams. For is it the design that makes it memorable or is it the impossible feats performed  here that place these at a pedestal ? What is it that fans like my son bow down to or kiss the ground for?
 From all i know of the the hands that craft and the intellect that visualises there is something yet above all this and that is the spirit...the spirit which wants to rise against all odds and just emerge whatever we do.

Image courtesy:
Additional Resource : Sports Star and Sports World magazines June 2010 issues.


  1. Very well researched article. Extremely informative and well timed. Once again kudos to your presentation skills. Excellent new template/widgets too. Keep it up.

  2. @Tandarin Thank you once again for your kind words.Happy that you like my new experiments with template/widgets.:)

  3. Some chronicle this!
    Very informative and what effort in highlighting!.And i do agree that some of these stadiums are THE ENTERTAINMENT.
    Also enjoyed the OSD of Chariots of Fire.
    Keep blogging and cheers...Waka Waka eh! ah!
    Tsamina mina mina zangelewa...this time for spirit eh!

  4. @Anonymous...Zangelewa Waka Waka...this time for spirit eh! Thank you so much.
    You got the title absolutely right.What to do i am humming it too... all the time. :)

  5. This is good.. thankfully now you feel at least to some extent how we feel when we play on some of the finest grounds in the World :) haha haha
    For more info on WACA

  6. @Aakaash Oh yes!! sonna surefire now i do...sry for not sharing the same enthu earlier...but now with you in all this.
    And much thanks for still educating me when u r miles away from me.
    Miles away yet so close to me.Hugs :)

  7. Will come back to read the for now. have an award from me....

  8. O my my that is some analysis and info..WIlll take 2-3 readings to gulp....

    LOved that 2nd pic (of greek stadia i guess) moving so surreal it seems

  9. @Nish thank you...didn't mean it to be so tiresome but it did.But thanks for being so patient.
    That 2nd pic is of The Colosseum Rome,Italy and yeah it is as you say...'so surreal'. :)

  10. That is a very comprehensive report on the venues with some personal comments as well. :)

  11. @Anirban thank you on reading through...yeah it was a study i thought that should help me correlate every time i visit these now every day on the TV.
    Glad... you found time to go through my voluminous blog.:)

  12. very very informative . great job !!!
    he he . . . . . i was reminded of the stadium where Ben Hur's chariot race took place . think of that stadium and then have a look at these !!

  13. @Gauri thank you for being patient in this very long post.Yeah u r right...even i remembered the chariot race and that stadium was always on my mind...hence the colloseum.:)