The first and last stadium we will see in the 2010 World Cup is also fittingly the most distinctive: the 91,141 capacity Soccer City stadium in Johannesburg is designed to look like an African cooking pot (calabash), by South African architects Boogertman Urban Edge & Partner. According to the official stadium website, “The façade is made up of a selection of six colours and three textures that make reference to the shades and textures of the calabash.”
This is not a brand new stadium, but a major renovation of the original 70,000-capacity Soccer City Stadium opened in 1989 and home to the Kaiser Chiefs, South Africa’s most popular team.
Soccer City will host the opening game, four other first round games, one second round match and one quarter-final, and the final itself.
You may have heard about a recent strike by South African construction workers, but this is unlikely to endanger the delivery of Soccer City by the end of the year, as it is already 90% complete, with the German-engineered roof the final stage. With 3,000 construction workers on site, Soccer City has been the world’s biggest stadium construction site for the past three years.
The dark lines on the outside of the stadium point to the other locations of the stadia being used for the 2010 World Cup, as well as to Berlin, host to the last World Cup final.
Unlike the new stadiums being built in Durban and Cape Stadium, none of the seating is temporary, raising question marks about whether the 91,141 capacity will be utilised consistently after the World Cup finals are over.
Soccer City Stadium does not have the incredible beachfront location of the Moses Mabhida stadium with the backdrop of the Table Mountain; it’s located a few miles from the centre of Johannesburg. The facade, though, ensures it will be the most memorable stadium of the World Cup.