Soccer City/FNB Stadium

(Image: Stephen Frank)

One of the most artistic and awe-inspiring football venues on the African continent, the reconstructed Soccer City stadium (FNB Stadium) hosted the first and final matches of the 2010 FIFA.

The ground's design is inspired by the iconic African pot known as the calabash, and its aesthetic appeal is heightened when the stadium is lit at night. It is located in Johannesburg's south-west and is only a short distance from one of the country's football-crazy townships, Soweto.

The stadium is widely regarded as the heart of football in South Africa as it has hosted many important matches. 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. The stadium 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 Africa Cup of Nations final, with South Africa eventually triumphing 2-0 over Tunisia.

The original 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.