Port Elizabeth Stadium – Nelson Mandela Bay/Port Elizabeth
The Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium, set on the shores of the North End Lake is the first football dedicated stadium in the city or surrounding areas. The stadium, one of the newly-built stadiums for the 2010 FIFA World Cup™, was completed a year prior to the commencement of the world’s greatest show on earth – a major milestone for the city.
The Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium will host the match for third place, and a quarter-final amid a total of eight matches during the FIFA World Cup. The stadium has an eye-catching, unique roof-structure and a spectacular view, overlooking the North End Lake.
Before the construction of this multi-purpose venue, all international football matches were played at the Eastern Province rugby stadium, the EPRU Stadium. The playing field is natural grass with the outer / surrounding area to be artificial turf. One of its first major test events was the coveted Soweto Derby between Orlando Pirates and Kaizer Chiefs – a game that attracts capacity crowds in South Africa.
Name: Port Elizabeth
City: Nelson Mandela Bay/Port Elizabeth
Gross Capacity: 42,486
Durban Stadium – Durban
The newly-built Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban will host one of the semi-finals of the 2010 FIFA World Cup™. The ground epitomises the architectural innovation on display in South Africa and takes its design inspiration from the South African flag, with its grand arch representing the unity of this sport-loving nation. The two legs of the arch on the southern side of the stadium come together to form a single footing on the northern side, symbolising the new unity of a once-divided country.
The 62,760-seater has been specifically designed as a multi-purpose venue and an amphitheatre complete with a cable car which ascends to a viewing platform at the top of the expansive 350m arch, a staggering 106m above the pitch. From this vantage point, visitors can experience spectacular panoramic views of the nearby shoreline and the city. The roof is attached to the arch by 95mm-diameter steel cables. Each seat of the stadium is spacious and comfortable, providing a clear line of sight to the pitch.
It is a world-class and multifunctional arena located in the heart of the Kings Park Sporting Precinct. Durban’s Moses Mabhida Stadium will be the jewel in the crown of the Kings Park Sporting precinct. The entire area will feature additional sporting arenas and facilities as well as restaurants, shops, play areas for children and a pedestrian walkway linking the stadium complex to the beach.
The stadium was built on the site of the old Kings Park Stadium. Moses Mabhida, the ground’s namesake, was born in Thornville near Pietermaritzburg on 14 October 1923 into a poor family who were later forced off their land. In 1963, Mabhida was asked by Oliver Tambo while working in Prague rallying support from the World Federation of Trade Unions, to come back to Africa to develop the ANC’s armed wing, Umkhonto we Sizwe (MK). He underwent military training and became the chief political instructor of new military recruits. He later served as the commander of MK.
Name: Durban Stadium
Gross Capacity: 62,760
One of the most artistic football venues in South Africa, the newly-built Green Point Stadium is situated in one of the much sought-after areas in the city of Cape Town. Green Point Stadium is one of the two semi-final venues for the FIFA World Cup™.
This multi-purpose venue is also going to be used to stage major events and concerts. Fans will be a stone’s throw from the ocean and the mountains of Cape Town will also provide the backdrop for matches. The location is ideal as it is a short walk from the transportation hub of the city. The new stadium has been partly built on land that was previously used as a golf course.
The stadium, which has an exterior that is covered with noise-reducing cladding has a capacity of 64,100 and is scheduled for completion in December 2009. The Green Point Common, on which the new 2010 stadium is being built, was originally much larger than what now remains, and included most of the land between the sea and Signal Hill, stretching from the city centre towards Sea Point.
Cape Town has another world-standard stadium, Newlands, but this is primarily used as a rugby union venue. Post FIFA World Cup, the Green Point Stadium is likely to be used by some of the Cape Town-based professional football outfits that include Ajax Cape Town and Santos.
Name: Green Point
City: Cape Town
Gross Capacity: 64,100
Home to some of the country’s most fanatical group of supporters, the Free State Stadium is likely to be the centre of attention during the FIFA World Cup™. The stadium was given a plush new look for the 2009 FIFA Confederations Cup. It hosted the memorable semi-final match between Spain and USA where the latter secured one of the biggest surprises of the tournament by sending the European champions packing in front of a capacity crowd.
The Free State Stadium was upgraded from a capacity of 38,000 to 40,911 during the refurbishments. The stadium has hosted numerous major football and rugby union matches, and Bloemfontein’s natives are renowned for their passion for sport. While the former played second fiddle to the latter for decades, football’s popularity explosion – aided by the emergence of Bloemfontein Celtic – is changing this. The Celtic fans are known as Siwelele, a Sotho term.
Stadium: Free State
City: Mangaung / Bloemfontein
Construction: medium upgrade
Gross Capacity (after upgrade): 40,911
Soccer City Stadium – Johannesburg
One of the most artistic and awe-inspiring football venues on the African continent, the newly-reconstructed Soccer City Stadium will host the first and final matches of the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa™.
The ground’s design is inspired by the iconic African pot known as the calabash, and its aesthetic appeal will be heightened when the stadium is lit at night. Soccer City is located in Johannesburg’s southwest and is only a short distance from one of the country’s football-crazy townships, Soweto. About 40 per cent of Johannesburg’s population live in Soweto and this proximity is bound to make the stadium a hub of activity throughout the 2010 finals.
The stadium is widely regarded as the heart of football in South Africa as it has hosted many important matches through history. In the mid 1980s, officials came together to build the first international football stadium in the country and the construction was funded from the football fraternity’s coffers. Soccer City hosted the first mass rally of Nelson Mandela after his release from prison in 1990. Thousands of mourners lamented Chris Hani’s assassination at the stadium in 1993. It was also the venue for the 1996 CAF African Cup of Nations final, with South Africa eventually triumphing 2-0 over Tunisia.
The original stadium, which was known as the FNB Stadium, had a capacity of 80,000. Upgrades involved extending the upper tier to increase the capacity to 84,490; adding 99 more suites to bring the number to 184; constructing an encircling roof; adding new changing room facilities and installing new floodlighting.
Stadium: Soccer City
Construction: major upgrade
Gross Capacity 88,460
Ellis Park Stadium – Johannesburg
Ellis Park Stadium is located in the centre of Johannesburg and has hosted many epic sporting events including the final of the 2009 FIFA Confederations Cup between Brazil and the United States. The ground was given a significant face-lift before the Confederations Cup finals and now seats 55,686.
Ellis Park was first built in 1928 as a rugby union stadium. It was demolished and rebuilt in 1982, again exclusively for rugby. It was named after JD Ellis, a Johannesburg city councilor who approved the use of the land for a stadium, setting aside a full 13 acres.
The ground will always occupy a special place in the hearts of the country’s sporting fans after the South African rugby team shocked New Zealand to lift the 1995 Rugby World Cup trophy soon after being allowed back onto the world sporting stage. It was a moment that brought the people of South Africa together in celebration as the iconic scenes of Nelson Mandela holding aloft the trophy at Ellis Park were beamed around the world.
The largest piece of construction has been the new tier on the north stand which has increased the seating capacity to 62,000. With state-of-the-art media facilities, team whirlpools, top-class VIP areas for dignitaries, accessibility for disabled fans, a new pitch and a top-notch audio-visual setup to keep the fans informed during the game, no one will be left disappointed.
Ellis Park is home to one of the country’s most popular clubs, Orlando Pirates FC.
Name: Ellis Park Stadium
Construction: minor upgrade
Construction Completion: 2009
Gross Capacity: 55,686
The Royal Bafokeng Sports Palace is one of the stadiums for the 2010 FIFA World Cup™. The stadium is named after the Bafokeng people who live in the area.
In 1999, the Bafokeng won a legal battle, which entitled them to 20% on the platinum which is mined on their historical land. Hence, they have shares in platinum mining in the area. Upon completion, the stadium will seat 38,646.
The South African national team played a FIFA World Cup qualifying game against Burkina Faso in 2001, and won 2-1. It has been host to many Premier Soccer League games despite Rustenburg not having its own team.
The stadium is only a 25 minute drive to Sun City and 30 minutes to the Pilansberg. It is 12 kilometers from the Rustenburg city centre.
Name: Royal Bafokeng
Gross Capacity: 38,646
Mbombela Stadium – Nelspruit
The Mbombela Stadium is one of the newly-built stadia for the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa™ and it takes its name from the local municipality which incorporates the city of Nelspruit. Mbombela is siSwati (one of the 11 official languages in South Africa) and literally means ‘many people together in a small space.’
The stadium, with a capacity of 40,911, is located in the city of Nelspruit in Mpumalanga Province. It is situated approximately seven kilometers from the city centre and 12 kilometers from the nearby Kruger-Mpumalanga Airport. The ground also enjoys a close proximity to various game parks, giving spectators the opportunity to see the wildlife during rest days.
The Mbombela comes as a welcome addition to football life in Nelspruit, and will leave a legacy of the beautiful game for all the people of Mpumalanga. Before the Stadium’s construction, Nelspruit had no top football venue to host international matches.
Gross Capacity: 40,929
Loftus Versfeld Stadium, situated in Tshwane/ Pretoria, is one of the oldest stadiums in South Africa. The stadium has been used for major sporting events since 1903, and the first concrete structure, which could accommodate only 2,000 spectators, was built by the City Council of Pretoria in 1923.
Since 1948 it has undergone perennial upgrades. It has been used for both rugby and football matches and is home to one of the country’s top rugby teams, the Blue Bulls. Loftus Versfeld is in the heart of Tshwane/Pretoria and currently has a seating capacity of 42,858. It has hosted many significant matches including during the 1995 Rugby World Cup and 1996 CAF African Cup of Nations. It is now used by Mamelodi Sundowns and SuperSport United as their home ground.
South Africa’s national team, Bafana Bafana, achieved its first ever victory over a European side at this venue when they beat Sweden 1-0 in 1999.
Stadium: Loftus Versfeld
Named after one of the renowned sons of the struggle and emancipation of South Africa against the apartheid regime, the Peter Mokaba Stadium holds much historical significance in South Africa. Peter Mokaba was born and bred in Polokwane and was renowned for his fighting spirit and for his inspirational leadership.
The design of the largely concrete structure is inspired by the locally iconic Baobab tree, with the steel structure supporting the roof plane gathered together at each corner of the stadium and supported by giant ‘trunk’ structures which accommodate vertical circulation ramps and service cores.
The stadium was built next to the old Peter Mokaba Stadium in Polokwane in the Limpopo Province. The newly-built Peter Mokaba stadium is situated approximately 5km from the city centre, with a total seating capacity of 41,911.
Former African player of the Year, Didier Drogba remains one of the biggest stars to play at this venue when he played for Côte d’Ivoire in a memorable and decisive CAF African Cup of Nations qualifier against South Africa at the old Peter Mokaba Stadium, with the home side prevailing 2-1.
Name: Peter Mokaba
Gross Capacity: 41,733