Image: Soccer City
Jerome Delay  /  AP
Soccer teams drawn from Johannesburg municipal workers listen to the South African national anthem as they get ready for a friendly match, the first, at Johannesburg's Soccer City stadium on Friday.
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updated 3/26/2010 2:55:36 PM ET 2010-03-26T18:55:36

Work on the Soccer City World Cup stadium is on track to deliver the most technologically advanced arena in the world, a Johannesburg official said Friday, despite unfinished roads and widespread work continuing in the area.

Sibongile Mazibuko, executive director of the city's World Cup department, told The Associated Press the developers are "very much on track" and that major construction had been completed.

"All the roads around Soccer City are done. The only parts are the intersections left for the fiber cabling," Mazibuko said.

"In terms of technology, the stadium is the most technologically advanced stadium, and to quote Jerome Valcke (FIFA general secretary), this is the best stadium he has ever seen in the world."

However, ongoing work around the stadium suggests there is much still to do. Johannesburg has just over a month to make good on its promise to hand over the 94,000-seat venue to FIFA.

The stadium will host the opening ceremony and the tournament's first game on June 11. It will also stage the July 11 final.

Mazibuko said FIFA was already involved in stadium preparations at Soccer City, earlier than planned.

"We have to hand contractually to FIFA on the 30th of April," Mabizuko told the AP. "But we have allowed FIFA to start working within the stadium because it is in our interests that they start earlier.

"There is a lot of work that is already being done by FIFA within Soccer City with the temporary structures. ... The two should not be confused with the work that is being done for preparation or construction. Construction has been done and FIFA is now on site."

The city invited municipal workers to play a match at Soccer City on Friday to mark the end of a 10-day countrywide stadium inspection tour. They were the first soccer games on the new field.

But while the teams played, and spectators cheered and sang in the stands, construction workers were still hard at work outside on infrastructure around the stadium.

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"What we are looking at now is just the finer detail," Danny Jordaan, the local organizing committee chief executive, said in a statement Friday.

The arena' light brown seats, the color of an African clay pot, will be full for the opening game between South Africa and Mexico, Mazibuko said.

"Anyone who actually closed his eyes the day before we demolished what was formerly known as the FNB Stadium and opened their eyes today will think they are in another country," he said.

"But at the same time they will recognize that they are in Africa. The design is an African design. ... It is our view that this stadium is the best design ever seen."

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