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The Stadiums of South Africa

AS a million eyes turn towards South Africa, the troubled nation knows that it has a lot to prove and the evidence will be under scrutiny with every flaw proving to be further reason for enhanced scorn. If Germany 2006 provided a carnival of sorts, all hell will break loose as South Africa prepares in the grandest way possible. If the concluded T20 World Cup and IPL are anything to go by, then nothing short of fever pitch will prevail. So where will all the vuvuzelas be blasting at full volume? Here's a guide to all the stadiums where history will be made with every passing minute.

Green Point Stadium: This piece of architectural beauty, located in the southern tip of South Africa, in the most sought-after area of Cape Town, gives meaning to 'Renaissance of Africa'. Perhaps one of the most artistic stadiums of this year with a retractable dome, it will be the venue for some mouth-watering clashes, like when Cameroon take on Netherlands or when England hope to conquer Algeria. The 70,000 seater will also be the setting for the quarterfinal and semi-final clashes. The newly built stadium is already dubbed as an architectural gem of the South African Nation. Just ahead of mountain ranges and the ocean, Green Point Stadium will indeed provide a spectacular backdrop to some eagerly awaited battles.

Moses Mabhida Stadium: Named after the man who rose to the height of becoming the commander of ANC's armed wing, MK, was forced off his own land while growing up in poverty. As a tribute to his courage, the stadium was named after him and it's innovative design has been directly inspired by the South African flag. Spectators will be greeted by a 350m arch, rising above 100m from the pitch. Located in the heart of Durban, this stadium will also provide additional facilities such as shopping malls, children's playing area and a walkway leading right onto the beach. If that wasn't enough, spectators may also choose to travel on a cable car, which goes right up to viewing platforms located on top of the glorious arch. Providing comfortable and spacious seating arrangements for 70,000 people, this newly built stadium will be the place for a semi-final along with providing the location where Brazil will meet Portugal.

Nelson Mandela Stadium: Located right near the shores of North End Lake, 15 minutes away from Port Elizabeth's hotels, this unique structure is topped with an eye-catching roof, specially made such to withstand the ferocious Port Elizabeth winds. Costing around R2.1 billion, this magnificent structure was completely barely a year before the showpiece tournament and this itself was considered to be an amazing feat. The 48,000 seater will play host to a quarterfinal clash while also welcoming Group of Death's Ivory Coast and Portugal.

Mbombela Stadium: Another newly constructed stadium located in Nelspruit may not be a beautifully imposing structure, but was highly anticipated as it is the only venue capable of hosting top class international matches in the city. The meaning of Mbombela is 'many people together in a small space' suits the stadium, which has a seating capacity of around 46,000. Surrounded by game parks, the chance of spotting wildlife nearby is another treat spectators can look forward to. The modest venue hosts Italy as they take on New Zealand among other matches.

Ellis Park Stadium: Located in the heart of Johannesburg, Ellis Park is synonymous with South African Sporting Folklore. The very mention of the name brings back images of Nelson Mandela holding the 1995 Rugby World Cup Trophy, when South Africa shocked New Zealand to lift the trophy in this very stadium. Named after JD Ellis, a Johannesburg City Councilor who approved using 13 acres to build this historical place, Ellis Park is considered to be a landmark. Also the scene for the final clash of 2009 Confederation's Cup when Brazil took on America, this stadium is home to South Africa's most popular club, Orlando Pirates FC. With a seating capacity of 62,000, this newly renovated stadium also boasts state of the art media facilities, top class VIP areas and advanced audio-visual set-ups to appease the throngs of people. It is indeed a fitting scene for a quarterfinal clash whilst also being the first step for Argentina, as they clash right in this venue, with Nigeria on June 12th for their opening clash.

Loftus Versfeld Stadium: One of the oldest stadiums in South Africa, this stadium has also played host to many historical events. Indeed, this is where Bafana Bafana drew first blood against a European opponent for the first time, when they met in 1999. Located in Pretoria, this stadium can accommodate up to 50,000 fans. Perhaps its most significant event this year will be South Africa's clash against Uruguay.

Free State Stadium: Located in Bloemfontein, home to the Bloemfontein Celtics, Free State Stadium attracts some of the most zealous supporters. Rapidly growing in significance, the modest but plush looking structure, seats around 48,000 people and will kick off when Japan face Cameroon.

Royal Bafokeng Stadium: Located in Rustenburg, The Royal Bafokeng Stadium has been named after the Bafokeng people who live in the area. Completed with new floodlights, public sound systems and electronic scoreboards, this stadium with a capacity of 44,500 will open to the masses by hosting England versus The United States of America.

Peter Mokaba Stadium: Named after Peter Mokaba, one of the most famous and controversial anti-apartheid figures, this concrete structure was inspired by the iconic Baobab tree. The 45,000 seater's biggest visitor was Didier Drogba, however after becoming the host of numerous matches featuring the likes France and Argentina, it is rest-assured that the Former African Player of the Year will not be the last big star to score at Peter Mokaba.

Soccer City: This venue is indeed the stuff of legends. This is the place where legends are made and the weak of heart are plundered. The renovated Soccer City is considered the Mecca of South African football. This artistic and awe-inspiring piece of beauty was modelled after the enduring mould of the calabash. Located at Johannesburg, this stadium leaves passer-bys transfixed when it is fully lit at night. This venue has not only played host to South Africa's historical matches but it has also been the setting for Mandela's first rally after being released, it was also the mourning ground for Hani's assassination whilst finally serving as the eager host for South Africa's 2-0 triumph against Tunisia during the 1996 CAF African Cup of Nation's final match. The stadium is not only encompassed by the nation's hope for unity at last but it also symbolises South Africa's numerous struggles, all in the form of a silent and iconic pot. The 95,000 seats will indeed fail to satisfy those who wish to descend upon this magnanimous structure, as this place has been chosen, fittingly, as the location for World Cup Final.

There you have it, a guide to the most happening place in the entire world this year around. Eight Days to go and the countdown begins!

Reference: www.fifa.com, www.sa-venues.com

By Osama Rahman


The Facebook Execution

So suppose there was this Russian scientist (it doesn't work without the accent) who decided to cut up five humans, each from a different country. And Bangladesh was one of them. (Because. You know. We're just cool like that.) Imagine him picking up the shiny sharp thing and slashing open each body like a Pepsi-addict would a crate of Pepsi. Imagine the blood oozing out.

And now believe me when I say that the Bangladeshi dead dude's blood is a whole load redder than the other dead dudes'. I can't explain why. It could be all the chilli.

But I do know that it's the primary ingredient to many a talent. What talents you may ask? These
1. Disobeying EVERY. SINGLE. RULE. Written on a yellow signboard with black paint. For example: No Smoking. Sure, authorities, no problem. I'll just go build a cigarette factory here instead.

2. Eating. Need I say more?
3. That beautiful little life process called reproduction. Indeed it is a talent. We have an affinity with rabbits in this respect. Ugly babies? Don't worry, just produce a hundred more.

And then some stupid Wikipedia estimate had to come and ruin the fun. Densest population in the world. Thanks, guys. We were just getting enough of them to build houses with. Now we've got to kill them off. Darn it.

Then the government came up with a genius plan. Kill off the entire teenage population. And anyone not too far either side. How to do that? Simple. Cut off their life-giving source.

On the 29th of May, 2010, teenagers all over Bangladesh stared despairingly at their computer screens.

Now we sit, starving, pining, curled up in corners, trying to take comfort from MSN.

Take pity government. Facebook was leaching the vitality out of us anyway. There's no way our feeble-blooded generation can produce that many kids, we promise.

By Safieh Kabir


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