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FNB Stadium

Soccer City
Soccer City, The Calabash
Location Stadium Avenue, Nasrec, Johannesburg, South Africa
Owner City of Johannesburg
Operator Stadium Management South Africa
Executive suites 195
Capacity 94,736
Record attendance 94,713 (South Africa-New Zealand, 21 August 2010)
Field size 105m X 68m
Surface Grass
Broke ground 1986
Opened 1989
Renovated 2009
Expanded 2009
Construction cost Rand 3.3 billion
(USD $ 440 million)
Architect Boogertman & Partners, HOK Sport (now Populous)[1]
Kaizer Chiefs
South Africa national football team
South Africa national rugby union team
2010 FIFA World Cup
Soccer City during the kick-off match of the 2010 FIFA World Cup between South Africa and Mexico.

First National Bank Stadium or simply FNB Stadium, also known as Soccer City and The Calabash, is a stadium located in 2010 FIFA World Cup were housed.[2] Designed as the main association football stadium for the World Cup, the FNB Stadium became the largest stadium in Africa with a capacity of 94,736. However its maximum capacity during the 2010 FIFA World Cup was 84,490 due to reserved seating for the press and other VIPs. The stadium is the home ground of Kaizer Chiefs F.C. and the South Africa national football team. The stadium is also known by its nickname "The Calabash" due to its resemblance to the African pot[3] or gourd.

It was the site of Nelson Mandela's first speech in Johannesburg after his release from prison in 1990, and served as the venue for a memorial service to him on 10 December 2013.[4][5] It was also the site of Chris Hani's funeral.[4]

It was also the venue for the 2010 FIFA World Cup Final, which was played by the Netherlands and Spain. The World Cup closing ceremony on the day of the final saw the final public appearance of Mandela.[6]

The Calabash

Naming history

The stadium has been officially known as FNB Stadium since it was opened in 1989. This was due to a naming rights deal with First National Bank. During the 2010 FIFA World Cup, as well as in the month before the tournament, the stadium was referred to as Soccer City. This was done as FIFA does not allow stadiums to be referred to by sponsored names during FIFA-sanctioned tournaments. The stadium's current name is FNB Stadium.


The stadium underwent a major upgrade for the 2010 FIFA World Cup, with a new design inspired by the shape of an African pot, the calabash.[7] The South African main contractor GLTA, part of the Aveng Group in a joint venture with the Dutch company BAM who had a 25% stake, constructed the upgrade, which 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 to 88,958,[8] an additional 2 executive suites, an encircling roof, new changing room facilities and new floodlights. The number of suites in the stadium was increased to 195. Grinaker-LTA and BAM international won the R1.5 billion[9] tender to upgrade the stadium.[10] The construction was completed on Wednesday, 21 October 2009 and was marked by a huge celebration at the stadium.[8]

Stadium design

The outside of the stadium is designed to have the appearance of an African pot; the cladding on the outside is a mosaic of fire and earthen colours with a ring of lights running around the bottom of the structure, simulating fire underneath the pot. No spectator is seated more than 100 metres (330 ft) from the field, and there are no restricted views in the stadium.[11]

The stands in the FNB Stadium are articulated by ten black vertical lines; nine are aligned geographically with the nine other stadiums involved in the 2010 World Cup. Because 9 is considered to be an unlucky number in South African traditional culture, a tenth line was added. This tenth line is aimed at Berlin's Olympic Stadium, which hosted the previous World Cup final in 2006. This represents the road to the final and it is hoped that after the World Cup, each goal scored at the stadium will be placed in pre-cast concrete panels on a podium so that the full history of the tournament’s scores can be seen for years to come.[12]

Before the upgrade

Before the upgrade, the stadium had a capacity of 80,000. The newly reconstructed stadium retains part of the original structure's west upper tier, although this and the entire lower tier were rebuilt to improve sightlines. The lower tier was completely reconstructed and divided into two segments which enabled the creation of a new lower concourse (the lower embankment concourse) linked to the existing ground level concourse.

Major tournaments

1996 African Cup of Nations

FNB Stadium served as the main venue for the tournament. It hosted the opening game, 5 other group games, a quarter final, a semi final, the 3rd place play-off and the final. The games were:

Date Team #1 Res. Team #2 Round Attendance
1996-01-13  South Africa 3–0  Cameroon Group A (opening match) 80,000
1996-01-15  Egypt 2–1  Angola Group A 6,000
1996-01-18  Cameroon 2–1  Egypt Group A 4,000
1996-01-20  South Africa 1–0  Angola Group A 30,000
1996-01-24  South Africa 0–1  Egypt Group A 20,000
1996-01-25  Zaire 2–0  Liberia Group C 3,000
1996-01-27  South Africa 2–1  Algeria Quarter-finals 80,000
1996-01-31  South Africa 3–0  Ghana Semi-finals 80,000
1996-02-03  Ghana 0–1  Zambia Third place match 80,000
1996-02-03  South Africa 2–0  Tunisia Final 80,000

2010 World Cup

The stadium hosted the opening ceremony followed by the opening match between South Africa and Mexico, 4 other group stage matches, a Round of 16 match, a quarter-final and the final.

Date Time (UTC+02) Team #1 Res. Team #2 Round Attendance
2010-06-11 16.00  South Africa 1–1  Mexico Group A (opening match) 84,490
2010-06-14 13.30  Netherlands 2–0  Denmark Group E 83,465
2010-06-17 13.30  Argentina 4–1  South Korea Group B 82,174
2010-06-20 20.30  Brazil 3–1  Ivory Coast Group G 84,455
2010-06-23 20.30  Ghana 0–1  Germany Group D 83,391
2010-06-27 20.30  Argentina 3–1  Mexico Round of 16 84,377
2010-07-02 20.30  Uruguay 1–1 (4–2 on pen.)  Ghana Quarter Finals 84,017
2010-07-11 20.30  Netherlands 0–1 (aet)  Spain Final 84,490

2013 African Cup of Nations

FNB Stadium served as a venue for the tournament. It hosted the opening game, one group game and the final. The games were:

Date Team #1 Res. Team #2 Round Attendance
2013-01-19  South Africa 0–0  Cape Verde Group A (opening match) 50,000
2013-01-19  Angola 0–0  Morocco Group A 25,000
2013-02-10  Nigeria 1–0  Burkina Faso Final 85,000


International football

FNB stadium has been used by the South African national football team for both friendlies and qualification matches. This has led to the stadium being seen as the de facto 'national stadium' for football.

The stadium has also hosted large continental club fixtures. It was the venue for the first leg of the 1995 African Cup of Champions Clubs final, between Orlando Pirates and ASEC Abidjan. The stadium has also hosted the CAF Super Cup twice. It hosted the 1994 CAF Super Cup, between Zamalek and Al-Ahly, as well as the 1996 CAF Super Cup between Orlando Pirates and JS Kabylie. In 2004, the stadium hosted final of the Vodacom Challenge, between AS Vita Club and Kaizer Chiefs.

Local football

The FNB Stadium is home to Kaizer Chiefs Football Club. It is also the preferred venue for the Soweto derby football matches involving Soweto based Premier Soccer League clubs, Kaizer Chiefs and Orlando Pirates. It was also the traditional home of the Telkom Charity Cup from 1990 to 2006, before it was closed for renovations. The Charity Cup then returned in 2010. The stadium also hosted the 2010 Nedbank Cup final South Africa's premier football cup, this was the stadium's first event since re-opening. Bidvest Wits and Amazulu contested the final. The game ended, 3–0, to Bidvest Wits. Fabricio Rodrigues was the first player to score at the new Soccer City. The first league match at the stadium since being rebuilt, was a 2010–11 Premier Soccer League match between Orlando Pirates and Free State Stars. The first MTN 8 match at the stadium was the first leg of the 2010 MTN 8 semifinal, between Orlando Pirates and Kaizer Chiefs.


FNB stadium hosted its first rugby union match in 2010, the Tri Nations match between South Africa and New Zealand, won by the latter. The attendance was 94,713 which is listed as the third highest rugby attendance ever in the Southern Hemisphere and the current record attendance for the redeveloped stadium.[13] The stadium hosted New Zealand again in the 2012 Rugby Championship on 6 October with the All Blacks defeating the Springboks 32-16 in front of 88,739. In 2013 they beat Argentina 73–13 at the FNB Stadium in front of 52,867.


Band/artist Tour Date Attendance
U2 U2 360° Tour 13 February 2011 94.232[14]
Neil Diamond Concert Tour 2011 2 April 2011
Coldplay Mylo Xyloto Tour 8 October 2011 62,000[15]
Kings of Leon Come Around Sundown World Tour 29 October 2011 60,000[16]
Linkin Park Living Things World Tour 10 November 2012 63 000[17]
Lady Gaga Born This Way Ball 30 November 2012 56,900[18]
Red Hot Chili Peppers I'm With You World Tour 2 February 2013 65,000[19]
Metallica 2013 Vacation Tour 27 April 2013 >40,000[20]
Bon Jovi Because We Can - The Tour 11 May 2013 65,182[21]
Justin Bieber Believe Tour 12 May 2013 62,000[22]
Rihanna Diamonds World Tour 13 October 2013 67,291
Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band High Hopes Tour 1 February 2014 55,385[21]
Foo Fighters Sonic Highways World Tour 13 December 2014
One Direction On the Road Again Tour 28 & 29 March 2015

^ A The Coldplay concert was a rehearsal concert in preparation for their Mylo Xyloto Tour. As part of the concert, they filmed scenes for the music video for their song "Paradise".

Rihanna is the youngest artist to ever sell out the stadium, at the age of 25, as a part of her Diamonds World Tour.

See also


  1. ^ Soccer City architect Populous
  2. ^ "Soccer City".  
  3. ^ "The African Pot Takes Shape". Retrieved 2010-07-07. 
  4. ^ a b 2010 FIFA World Cup – Soccer City. In: Retrieved 2010-06-10.
  5. ^
  6. ^ "Nelson Mandela, South Africa's anti-apartheid icon, dies aged 95". The Telegraph. Retrieved 10 December 2013
  7. ^ [1]
  8. ^ a b "Soccer City is ready for play". 23 October 2009. Retrieved 23 March 2010. 
  9. ^ "Stadia".  
  10. ^ "2010 lead stadium work begins". SAinfo. 2007-01-18. Retrieved 2008-06-30. 
  11. ^ "World Cup: One year to go". BBC News. 2009-06-11. Retrieved 2009-06-18. 
  12. ^ "Take a seat at Soccer City". Retrieved 23 March 2010. 
  13. ^ SA Rugby. 21 August 2010. Retrieved 14 September 2010.
  14. ^ U2 in Johannesburg - the real greatest show on earth
  15. ^ Coldplay makes Joburg paradise
  16. ^ Kings of Leon: anything but a royal performance
  17. ^ Thousands attend Linkin Park concert
  18. ^ "Billboard Boxscore". Billboard (New York City, New York: Prometheus Global Media) 124 (51). 5 January 2013.  
  19. ^ Red Hot Chili Peppers electrify FNB stadium
  20. ^ Metallica pulls Johannesburg's strings
  21. ^ a b "Billboard Box Office Score". 
  22. ^ Bieber busts Jozi ticket bank

External links

  • Soccer City - Official stadium info
  • Soccer City at the 2010 Communication Project
  • FIFA 2010 sponsorship at FNB
  • Soccer City Stadium: a case study on Constructalia
  • Soccer City ESPN Profile
  • 360 View
  • Soccer City documentary film
  • Pictures and Videos from Soccer City
  • Stadium Management South Africa
Preceded by
Allianz Arena
FIFA World Cup
Opening Venue

Succeeded by
Arena Corinthians
São Paulo
Preceded by
FIFA World Cup
Final venue

Succeeded by
Estádio do Maracanã
Rio de Janeiro
Preceded by
Stade d'Angondjé
African Cup of Nations
Final venue

Succeeded by
Stade Mohamed V
Preceded by
Stade El Menzah
African Cup of Nations
Final venue

Succeeded by
Stade du 4-Août
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