By Robbie Blakeley, Senior Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Following a 2010 series of articles detailing the World Cup host cities in Brazil, it is time again to review the progress leading up to the 2014 World Cup with attention moving to the nation’s capital, Brasília. Not a traditional footballing stronghold, nevertheless a brand new arena, the Estádio Nacional Mané Garrincha is being constructed for the tournament.
The stadium is named after former Brazilian right winger Mané Garrincha, winner of two World Cup titles with the Seleção in 1958 and 1962. During the second success, the former best player on the planet was celebrated for carrying an average Brazilian team to the trophy, after Pelé had injured himself during the group stages.
The finished article will bear a striking resemblance to Rio’s own Maracanã. The shape is a two tiered bowl with room for 71,000 fans inside. Behind the Maracanã, it will be the second most expensive piece of World Cup construction.
The overall cost of the entire project, which includes a heliport, is estimated to cost R$863.2 million. The actual arena takes up the bulk of the expense, with building costs set at around R$671 million.
However with so many parts as yet undefined, such as the heliport, drainage system construction and purchase of grass for the pitch there are concerns the budget could be expanded.
The size and expense of this stadium reflect its importance over the next two years. The Mané Garrincha will host Confederations Cup matches in 2013, as well as the Confederations Cup Opening Ceremony.
When 2014 arrives, the arena will see seven World Cup matches. It is one of only two stadiums to host that many games, alongside Rio’s Maracanã, and whilst Rio get the final, Brasília will host the tournament’s third placed play-off tie.
Like the Arena Pantanal in Cuiabá, the stadium is being built with public money coming from the Brasília state government. Constructor Andrade Gutierrez have been handed the building contract, with working having begun back in August 2010.
Despite a vast amount of negative press concerning delays to building work across the land, the Mané Garrincha is making sound progress. Work is still due to finish in December of this year in plenty of time for the Confederations Cup the following June.
The stadium is over half finished and with more than 3,000 people working around the clock there is little chance of delay. The lower ring of the terraces has been completed since 2011, with work on the upper tier well under way.
As football is not as popular in Brasília as in the South and South-East, the stadium is being built as part of a complex which will also see a vast shopping center erected. It is also possible that upon the World Cup leaving Brazil that the Mané Garrincha could be reduced to between 40,000 and 44,000 in capacity.