What happened to the stadiums in South Africa after World Cup?

Nancy Marende

The 19th FIFA world cup was staged in South Africa in 2010. It was also the first World Cup to be held in Africa.  

In preparation, South Africa built new stadiums and made structural changes to existing stadiums in line with FIFA’s set of guidelines.

How many stadiums did South Africa have for the World Cup?

The 2010 World Cup was played in 10 stadiums across nine host cities in South Africa. Five of these stadiums were built specifically to serve as a playing venue for the World Cup.

The other five stadiums were already operational but had to undergo extensive renovations to become viable for the matches.

Unfortunately, most of these stadiums were rarely used after the world cup. This has largely resulted in abandoned World Cup stadiums.

Here is the status of the stadiums in South Africa after the World Cup:

1. Cape Town Stadium (Green Point Stadium) – Cape Town

Cape Town Stadium (Green Point Stadium)
Cape Town Stadium (Green Point Stadium). Image: Wikipedia/Hansueli Krapf
  • Built: 2009
  • Seating Capacity: 55,000
  • Status: Home ground for Ajax Cape Town football club

This 55,000-seater stadium was among the new stadiums in South Africa that were built exclusively for the world cup.

Green Point Stadium was completed in December 2009, before the 2010 World Cup. The stadium hosted its first match in January 2010 between SA’s Santos FC and Ajax Cape Town.

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The stadium’s capacity was temporarily increased to 68,000 to host the World Cup. The stadium hosted 5 of the group matches and 16 rounds of matches.

The quarterfinal was also played in the stadium, where Argentina lost to Germany (4-0) and the semi-final between Netherlands and Uruguay (3-2).

The Cape Town stadium is considered the most expensive stadium among the 10 stadiums South Africa built for the World Cup.

However, after the World Cup, there was little use for the arena in its entirety and the amenities built.

This is despite hosting the Ajax Cape Town team, who moved into the stadium after the World Cup.

2. Moses Mabhida Stadium – Durban

Moses Mabhida Stadium
Moses Mabhida Stadium. Image: Wikipedia/ArneMüseler
  • Built: 2009
  • Seating Capacity: 56,000
  • Status: Used for concerts, football matches, rugby union, and bungee jumping.

Another stadium built specifically for the World Cup is Moses Mabhida, famous for its Y-shaped architectural feature inspired by the South African Flag.

Moses Mabhida Stadium hosted five group matches, two matches in the round of 16 between Netherlands and Slovakia (2-1) and the semi-final which Spain beat Germany (1-0).

The capacity of the stadium was 62,760 for the World Cup. However, the third tier was removed after the tournament, leaving the stadium with a capacity of 56,000.

Fun Fact: South Africa and England played a friendly at the Moses Mabhida stadium to celebrate South Africa’s winning bid to host the 2010 World Cup.

  3. FNB Stadium (Soccer City) – Johannesburg

FNB Stadium (Soccer City)
FNB Stadium (Soccer City). Image: Wikipedia/ProstheticHead 
  • Built: 2009
  • Seating Capacity: 94,700
  • Status: Home ground for Kaizer Chiefs and South Africa national football teams.
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Commonly known as Soccer City, the FNB stadium was built in 1989 with a capacity of 80,000. In 2009, the stadium was among the venues renovated in preparation for the 2010 World Cup. The renovations made it the best stadium in South Africa.

The stadium’s capacity was increased to 95,000. This was, however, reduced temporarily by 10,000 seats.

Soccer City hosted the opening match during the World Cup that saw South Africa and Mexico draw (1-1).

Soccer City has previously hosted the 1996 and 2013 AFCON finals.

4. Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium – Port Elizabeth

Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium
Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium. Image: Wikipedia/Ngrund
  • Built: 2009
  • Seating Capacity: 46,000
  • Status: Home ground for Chippa United FC.

Nicknamed the Protea after the country’s national flower, the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium has a capacity of 46,000 seats. Like Cape Town Stadium, the stadium was built for the World Cup tournament.

The Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium hosted five games in the first round of group matches, a round of 16-match, and the quarter-final between Netherlands and Brazil (2-1).

Since the 2010 World Cup, the stadium has been the home ground for the Rugby Union Easter Province Kings and Southern Kings.

The stadium also hosts regular football matches.

5. Loftus Versfeld Stadium – Pretoria

Loftus Versfeld Stadium
Loftus Versfeld Stadium. Image: Wikipedia/Obiwansleepy
  •   Built: 1923
  •  Seating Capacity: 42,858
  • Status: Home ground for Mamelodi Sundowns FC, Vodacom Bulls Rugby team

Undoubtedly the most historic ground at the 2010 World Cup, the Loftus Versfeld Stadium was opened in 1923. The stadium seats 42,858 and hosts both rugby and football games.

This stadium hosted the famous match at the World Cup, which saw South Africa win against a European team- Sweden (1-0). The Loftus Versfeld Stadium hosted five group clashes and a second-round match.

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In addition to being the home of Mamelodi Sundowns FC, the stadium now hosts the Bule Currie Cup and Bulls Super 12 rugby teams.

6. Royal Bafokeng Sports Palace – Rustenburg

Royal Bafokeng Sports Palace
Royal Bafokeng Sports Palace. Image: Wikipedia/2010WorldCup
  • Built: 1999
  • Seating Capacity: 40,000
  • Status: Former home ground for Platinum Stars

Another oldie is the Royal Bafokeng Sports Palace, which was opened in 1999. The stadium was renovated for the World Cup to a capacity of 40,000.

Royal Bafokeng hosted six matches at the World Cup, the most memorable being the match where England and the USA drew (1-1).

Former home to Platinum Stars FC until the club was dissolved in 2018, the Royal Bafokeng Sports Palace has become a general athletics stadium. It also hosts music concerts.

7. Ellis Park – Johannesburg

Ellis Park – Johannesburg
Ellis Park in Johannesburg. Image: Wikipedia/GeorgeGroutas
  • Built: 1928
  • Seating Capacity: 60,000
  • Status: Currently under the management of Orlando Pirates Football Club and Ellis Park World of Sport. Also offers conferencing facilities.

Known more through rugby, the Ellis Park Stadium was built in 1928. It has a capacity of 60,000.

The stadium is remembered for the 1995 Rugby World Cup Final when South Africa’s national rugby team, The Springboks, defeated New Zealand’s All Blacks 15-12.

8. Mbombela Stadium – Nelspruit

Mbombela Stadium – Nelspruit
Mbombela Stadium in Nelspruit. Image: Wikipedia/Tadpolefarm 
  • Built: 2009
  • Seating Capacity: 40,929
  • Status: In use for rugby matches

The Mbombela Stadium is among the newer stadiums that hosted tournaments in the 2010 World Cup.

Built-in 2009, the stadium has a seating capacity of 40,929. Mbombela Stadium is the closest venue to the famous Kruger National Park.

Unfortunately, the stadium has not had much consistent action since the 2010 World Cup other than a few international rugby matches.

9. Free State Stadium/ Vodacom Park – Bloemfontein

Free State Stadium/ Vodacom Park – Bloemfontein
Free State Stadium/ Vodacom Park. Image: Wikipedia/GrahamMaclachlan
  • Built: 1995
  • Seating Capacity: 46,000
  • Status: In use for rugby events.

There’s an old joke- “England invented football, but Germany won it.” And win Germany did, beating England (4-1) in the 2010 World Cup quarter-finals at Free State Stadium.

Originally built for the 1995 World Rugby Cup, this 46,000-capacity stadium was upgraded in preparation for the World Cup.

10.  Peter Mokaba Stadium – Polokwane

Peter Mokaba Stadium
Peter Mokaba Stadium. Image: Wikipedia/BrieucSaffré
  • Built: 2010
  • Seating Capacity: 45,000
  • Status: In use for football and rugby events.

This 45,000-capacity venue was reduced to seating 41,700 for the World Cup matches. It was also among the newly-built stadiums. The stadium hosted four matches in the 2010 World Cup.

Currently, the Peter Mokaba stadium hosts several events like the MTN8. It is managed by the City of Polokwane.

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