Overtime in Soccer City

Soccer City image BW.jpg

By Eve Fairbanks, The New York Times Magazine

On the second Sunday in July, exactly one year after the final game of the 2010 World Cup was played here at Johannesburg’s Soccer City stadium, the cappuccino machine inside the V.I.P. suite was firing up. A bottle of wine cooled in the fridge across the bar. In the stadium’s bathrooms, fresh liners were tucked into the wastebaskets and the soap dispensers were refilled to the brim, as if the 90,000 fans that flooded the venue in 2010 might reappear at any moment. Ephraim Nong, a stadium tour guide, showed me the pitch from the V.I.P. viewing deck. It is maintained religiously, he said: cut three times a week, the grass in shadow artificially sunned using giant lamps hung on wheeled racks.

“When was the last event here?” I asked.

“When was our last event?” Nong dropped his head. “Yeah, man, let me see. I think it was May.” Read more ...