South Africa 2010 Stadia
Soccer City | Ellis Park | Green Point Stadium | Senzangakhona Stadium | Mbombela Stadium | Royal Bafokeng Sports Palace | Loftus Versfeld Stadium | Peter Mokaba Stadium | The Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium | Free State Stadium
The Soccer City stadium in Johannesburg is one of two venues within the city that will host matches at the 2010 World Cup finals in South Africa. With an expected capacity of almost 95 000, it is the largest stadium that will be used in the tournament and upon completion of its upgrade, will be the largest stadium in Africa. Soccer City is to be the crown jewel of all the stadia used in South Africa as it will host the opening match, one of the semi finals and the final itself.
Soccer City was built in the 1980’s when football officials felt that South Africa should have its own designated football stadium, given the popularity of the sport in the country. Outside of football, the massive venue played host to Nelson Mandela’s first rally upon being released from imprisonment on Robben Island. This has given the stadium a sense of history and occasion that few can match worldwide.
Ellis Park (also known as Coca Cola Park, due to sponsorship) is the second ground located in Johannesburg that is being used to stage finals matches. More famously associated with Rugby Union, as it was here that the Springboks triumphed in the World Cup in 1995, it will undergo a refit to increase its capacity to 60, 000 for the tournament.
Originally built in 1928 as a stadium to host rugby matches, the famous old ground was knocked down in the 1980’s to be replaced by a brand new, state of the art version which again was to be used exclusively for the 15-aside game. As the years progressed it began to be used increasing as a football stadium also and is now the home of the famous South African club the Orlando Pirates.
Green Point Stadium
For the 2010 finals, Cape Town is constructing a brand new stadium. Named after the suburb it will be built in, this ultra modern stadium will be close to the shores of the Atlantic Ocean and have the world famous landmark, Table Mountain as its back drop.
This brand new stadium, which will hold approximately 70,000 fans during the finals, will be left as a legacy for the city providing it will a multi-sport venue to host a variety of international events. The Cape Town venue is set to be a busy one during the finals as it will host 8 matches, 5 group stage matches and a round of 16, a quarter final and a semi final match.
The Senzangakhona Stadium is a brand new stadium that is being built in the city of Durban. The plans for the stadium were unveiled in 2006 and will be built on the land where the former King’s Park stadium once stood. Named after one of the founding fathers of the Zulu nation, the stadium will be used as a multi-purpose venue and will seat 70,000 fans.
Two arcs will tower above the ground and will be lit up, a la Wembley, and act as a beacon to arriving supporters as they approach the arena. The city of Durban has a long footballing history and the old King’s Park stadium has hosted some famous matches including the visit of the England football team in 2002 and the playing of the first post-apartheid international match.
The Mbombela Stadium is another venue that is being newly built for the 2010 World Cup finals. The stadium is being constructed a short distance away from the city of Nelspruit which is located in the north east of South Africa.
Until the plan to host matches in this area of South Africa, the region didn’t have a stadium that met international criteria and the construction of the venue will provide the local people with a venue they can be proud of. One of the smaller venues that will be used in the finals, it will have a capacity of just over 40,000 and is expected to host group stage and round of 16 matches.
Royal Bafokeng Sports Palace
Located 12km from the city centre of Rustenburg, the Royal Bafokeng Sports Palace only needs to undergo a few minor changes to comply with FIFA standards. Named after the Bafokeng people who inhabit the area, the stadium was originally built as a venue for hosting the 1995 Rugby World Cup but since then has become more synonymous with football. Once the upgrades have been completed the Royal Bafokeng Sports Palace will have a capacity of 42,000.
Loftus Versfeld Stadium
The Loftus Versfeld Stadium is located in Pretoria, the administrative and de facto capital city of South Africa. Originally built in 1923, with a capacity of only 2000, the ground has undergone a number of renovations over the years as it has developed into a high class sporting facility capable of hosting international events.
Named after Robert Owen Loftus Versfeld, who founded organised sports in Pretoria, the famous old ground has been renamed on several occasions as a result of sponsorship but was returned to its original moniker in 2005 when mobile phone giants Vodacom, purchased the rights but wanted to recognise the work done by Versfeld. For the 2010 finals, the stadium only needs to undergo minor changes and this will result in a total capacity of around 52,000 an increase of 7,000 seats.
Peter Mokaba Stadium
The city of Polokwane is building a new stadium for the 2010 finals that will be situated at the Peter Mokaba Sports Complex. Located in the Limpopo province of South Africa, it is fitting that a new venue is being constructed in the area of the country that has the most registered players. Sitting 5km from the city centre, upon its completion, the stadium will have a capacity of 45,000. The complex upon which the ground will sit is named after political activist, Peter Mokaba, who was a prominent figure during the apartheid era in South Africa.
The Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium
Named after the inspirational former leader of South Africa, the newly built stadium will be located in the city of Port Elizabeth. Before the finals were awarded to South Africa, there was no designated football stadium in PE, as it is called by the locals, which gave the South African Football Association the chance to build a new, top class facility in the football mad area. Despite not having their own Premier League team to follow, the locals turn out in great numbers when Premier League matches are hosted in the city. Being constructed on the shores of North End Lake, the stadium will have a capacity of around 50,000.
Free State Stadium
The Free State Stadium, also known as the Vodacom Park Stadium is located in the city of Bloemfontein. Used for both football and rugby, the ground plays host to three tenants. For football it is used by Bloemfontein Celtic as one of their home venues and in rugby union it is home for the Free State Cheetahs, who play domestic rugby in South Africa, and the Central Cheetahs who are one of South Africa’s representatives in the Super 14 tournament.
Named after the province in which it is located, the stadium hosted matches in the 1995 Rugby World Cup and the 1996 African Cup of Nations. Scheduled to be used as a venue for the 2009 Confederations Cup, the stadium is undergoing an expensive refurbishment which will see capacity increased to 48,000 as well as having the overall facilities greatly improved.