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Originally a humble, more serious looking stadium (able to seat 80,000), and then upgraded for the 2010 FIFA World Cup into an iconic voluptuous African queen of a stadium – able to comfortably seat 94,736 excited fans!
The stadium has been officially known as the FNB Stadium since it was opened in 1989. However, because FIFA does not allow stadiums to be referred to by sponsored names during FIFA-sanctioned tournaments, it has been referred to as Soccer City. Recently there was a court ruling that it is to be called FNB Stadium, and not Soccer City
The stadium, unsurprisingly, is also known by its more aesthetic name, ‘The Calabash’, which inspired its design. The upgrade was designed by the architects HOK Sport (renamed Populous in January 2009) and Boogertman + Partners.
The upgrade included: an extended upper tier around the stadium to increase the capacity, an additional two executive suites, an encircling roof, new changing room facilities and new floodlights. The construction was completed on Wednesday, 21 October 2009 and was marked by a massive celebration at the stadium.
The overall appearance of the stadium is artistic and grand; it sits like a fat sculpture, watching life go by around it. The outside is a mosaic of fire and earthen colours with a ring of lights running around the bottom of it, emulating the fire under the African pot. The 2010 FIFA World Cup Final was played here between the Netherlands and Spain.
No spectator is seated more than 100 metres from the field, and there are no restricted views in the stadium
Not only does the stadium play host to the game of football and its fans, but in 2010 is hosted its first rugby union match; the Tri Nations match between South Africa and New Zealand, won by the latter. The attendance was 94,713.
The site is quite famous in itself. This is where Nelson Mandela made his first speech in Johannesburg after his release from prison. This was also the site of Chris Hani’s funeral.
Since its rebirth it has been the venue for many legendary concerts such as U2, Neil Diamond, Coldplay, Kings of Leon, Linkin Park and recently Lady Gaga.
The Stadium can be found Nascrec Road, in Soweto, Johannesburg, South Africa.