There is no denying it – South Africans love soccer. It is an obsession that has taken root in the country for a very long time, and the fandom is only growing. We live it, breathe it and consider ourselves experts. It is no wonder then that we have some of the most incredible stadiums in our country.
Hosting the 2010 FIFA World Cup was an absolute blessing for soccer lovers. Not only did South Africans get to watch the best teams in the world up close and participate in the biggest sporting event in the world, but it urged the country to build world class stadiums for us to enjoy, even after the world cup had finished.
We can now boast stadiums that stand up with some of the best stadiums in the world. They are a great tourist attraction, a great place for fans to watch soccer and other sports, as well as just pretty awesome to look at.
Here are the best stadiums that South Africa can boast about.
Soccer City Stadium
Soccer City Stadium, also known as FNB Stadium, is the largest in South Africa. Situated in Johannesburg, it has a whopping maximum capacity of 94,700. The original stadium was built in 1987 and could seat 700,000, but renovations done in order to ready it for the 2010 FIFA World Cup transformed the stadium to what it is today. It is a stadium that is dear to South Africans for reasons that don’t include soccer as well. It was in this very stadium that Nelson Mandela made his first public appearance in 1990, and three years after that the memorable funeral of Chris Hani was held there as well.
In 1996 the CAF African Cup of Nations was held here, where South Africa ended up winning. The 2010 FIFA World Cup final between Netherlands and Spain were also held at this momentous stadium. It is home to Kaizer Chiefs FC and sits next door to SAFA (South African Football Association).
Moses Mabhida Stadium
This beautiful stadium is named after the former General Secretary of the South African Communist Party. The stadium is positioned a stones throw away from the famous Durban Promenade, and the views are spectacular. With the ability to seat 70,000 fans, it is a fairly large stadium. The entry terminal for fans makes them feel like they are players entering the field to play, and the inside of the stadium is just as breathtaking as the outside.
Designed by Gerhard Le Roux, the stadium holds significant meaning. The large arch represents unity through sport and the 2 branches of the arch on the south and the north meet to form one branch, showing the country’s unity.
If you pay a visit to the stadium, why not try out the bungee swing from the top of the arch, or take a cable car ride up to take in spectacular views of Durban.
Cape Town Stadium
Cape Town Stadium caters to both rugby and soccer games. A maximum of 69,070 seats means that there is always space for as many fans to attend the game. The original building was demolished in 2007 and rebuilt, and is the most expensive stadium in South Africa. It can seat 18,00 and is home to Ajax Football Club.
Situated between Green Point and Table Mountain, the views are amazing. After a visit to the stadium, one can pop across the way to the famous V&A Waterfront.
The official opening of the stadium was on 14 December 2009 and the first match was between Ajax Cape Town Football Club and Santos Cape Town Football Club, on the 23 January 2010 where 20,000 fans attended.
Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium
Found in Port Elizabeth, it was built specifically for the 2010 FIFA World Cup, one of 5 that were built for that reason. It is 2km from the coast and was designed by Gerkan, Marg & Associates, a German company. It is in fact not directly named after the legendary Nelson Mandela, but rather after the metropolitan that it is found in, which was named after the famous figure. The seating capacity is 46,000, and it was one of the main stadiums to host the world cup.
Peter Mokaba Stadium
Another stadium that was built specifically for the 2010 FIFA World Cup. It is an extension and improvement of the old soccer arena that stood there. The alterations started in March 2007, with the old structure only having one grandstand and three standing areas – so it definitely needed more areas for the fans. The stadium is in the capital of Limpopo province and is named after Peter Mokaba – the politician and activist. The stadium hosts both soccer and rugby games and has a maximum capacity of 45,500.
Yet one more stadium that South Africa was lucky enough to have built for the World Cup. It is placed on open land 7km west from Mbombela. Named after the municipality in Mpumalanga, it means “many people in little space”. It is also only 12km from the Kruger-Mpumalanga airport.
The stadium holds 40,929 fans and is shaped in a rectangular, but rounded shape. It was constructed by South Basil Read Construction and Bouyges and was officially opened in October 2009. Just in time for the world cup!
There are many other stadiums within South Africa that have their own personality and wave of fans. You will never find soccer fans as loyal as South Africans soccer fans. Whether it is for an international team, a Premier League side or a home-grown team, they stick to their players, their club and their coach. It is not uncommon to see South African cars and taxis decked out in their favourite teams gear, and for soccer shirts to be worn daily.
If you are near any of the stadiums, you definitely need to pay them a visit. If you are also wanting to try your hand at a little bit of sports betting, start here.
Immerse yourself in everything soccer in South Africa, from the stadiums to the teams, from the memorabilia to the fans – we really have it all, and we go big!