Focus on 2010 FIFA World Cup™ fever in Johannesburg, Gauteng, South Africa

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 94,700; adding 99 more suites to bring the number to 184; constructing an encircling roof; adding new changing room facilities and installing new floodlighting.

Facts Stadium: Soccer City

City: Johannesburg
Built: 1987
Construction: major upgrade
Completion: 2009
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 62,000 fans, increasing its capacity by almost nine per cent from the previous 57,000.

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.

Facts Name: Ellis Park Stadium

City: Johannesburg
Built: 1982
Construction: minor upgrade
Construction Completion: 2009
Gross Capacity: 61,639


Loftus Versfeld Stadium - Tshwane/Pretoria

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 50,000. 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.

Facts Stadium: Loftus Versfeld

City: Tshwane/Pretoria
Built: 1906
Construction: upgrade
Completion: 2008
Gross Capacity: 49,365

Article from: www.fifa.com