Football has always fascinated the entire African continent. The 2010 FIFA World Cup, organized in South Africa, was one of the best editions of the most prestigious championship in world. This success can not only be explained by the passion that Africans have for football, but also by the fact that some African countries have managed to set up sport infrastructures that are not different from those built in the other continents of the world.
Below is a list of the ten finest football stadiums built in Africa – a list chosen by Africa.com taking into account the capacity, attractiveness, comfort, and ability to host the world’s greatest sporting events.
SOCCER CITY STADIUM (SOUTH AFRICA)
Located in Johannesburg, South Africa, Soccer City Stadium is currently the largest stadium in Africa with a capacity of 94,700 seats. This stadium, also known as FNB Stadium (First National Bank Stadium), was built in 1987 in the province of Gauteng with a capacity of 80,000 seats before the renovations to reach 94,700 were made to be the main stadium to host the 2010 FIFA World Cup.
The stadium has been used for different sporting, cultural, and political events. The first major public appearance of Nelson Mandela took place in Soccer City in 1990. Three years later, thousands of people came to pay a final tribute to Chris Hani, one of the South Africa’s leaders. In 1996, the venue hosted the CAF African Cup of Nations finals, which saw South Africa triumph at home. However, the most historical moment of the stadium was the final match of the 2010 FIFA World Cup between Netherlands and Spain.
The stadium that cost US$ 440 million is located a few steps from SAFA House (South African Football Association House). It now hosts the international and friendly games of the national team of South Africa in addition to the local and continental matches of Kaizer Chief FC.
BORJ AL ARAB STADIUM (EGYPT)
Located 25 kilometers west of Alexandria Egypt, the Borj Al Arab Stadium is a multi-purpose sports stadium. It is the largest stadium in Egypt and the second largest in the continent (after Johannesburg’s Soccer City stadium). It’s the home venue of the Egyptian national team with a capacity of 86,000.
Borj Alarab Stadium was constructed by Egyptian Armed Forces Corps of Engineers (EAFCE) and was open for local and international tournaments in 2007.
MOSES MABHIDA STADIUM (SOUTH AFRICA)
South Africa once again is in the top with this magnificent stadium named after Moses Mabhida, a former General Secretary of the South African Communist Party. The stadium is located in Durban, close to the Indian Ocean Promenade with a capacity of 70,000 seats. It is equipped with a terminal for passengers including a station, parking, and park & ride facilities for spectators.
The “Durban Stadium”, which cost about US$ 440 million, truly embodies the architectural innovation of South Africa. The design, chosen by Gerhard le Roux, was inspired by the national flag of the country. The large arch that surrounds it represents the unity of the nation through sport. The two branches of the arc on the south and north sides meet to form the same branch, a symbol of the country’s unity.
CAPE TOWN STADIUM (SOUTH AFRICA)
The Cape Town Stadium is located in Cape Town, South Africa. It is dedicated to rugby and football games with a capacity of 69,070 seats. This stadium remains one of the most beautiful sportive monuments in Africa. It came at a cost of US$ 600 million in hopes to be one of the 10 stadiums to host the FIFA world cup of 2010. It replaced a former stadium with the same name, which was demolished in 2007. That stadium was 18,000 seats and housed the football teams of the Santos Football Club and Ajax Cape Town.
The Cape Town Stadium stands in the neighbourhood of Green Point, between Table Mountain and the Atlantic Ocean near the downtown area and the Victoria & Alfred Waterfront touristic area. It officially opened on December 14, 2009. The first match took place on January 23, 2010 with the Cape Derby between the Ajax Cape Town FC and Santos Cape Town FC in front of 20,000 spectators.
ABUJA NATIONAL STADIUM (NIGERIA)
The Abuja National Stadium is located in Abuja, Nigeria, and it is the home of the national team of Nigeria. With 60,491seats, the stadium was constructed to host the 8th edition of the African Games in 2003. This attractive infrastructure was designed by Schlaich Bergermann & Partner and it remains one of the best stadiums in Africa. Its beautiful, artistic design shows the big construction budget of US$ 360 million.
NELSON MANDELA BAY STADIUM (SOUTH AFRICA)
The Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium in Port Elizabeth is one of five stadiums that were built entirely for the 2010 World Cup. The stadium was constructed in a very attractive location, two kilometers from the coast of the Indian Ocean. It was designed and planned by Gerkan, Marg and Associates (German architects).
Its name was not directly given in honor of Nelson Mandela, the former president of South Africa, but is the name of the metropolis of the agglomeration of Port Elizabeth-Uitenhage-Despatch. The latter was named Nelson Mandela Bay in tribute to this legendary personality.The Stadium has a capacity of 46,000 seats and was one of the main stadiums to host the FIFA World Cup matches in 2010.
PETER MOKABA STADIUM (SOUTH AFRICA)
The Peter Mokaba Stadium in Polokwane is one of the five stadiums that were built for the 2010 World Cup. The current structure is a modernization and extension of the old stadium which had only one grandstand and three standing areas. In March 2007, authorities decided to build a new stadium so that it could become the center of an enthusiastic football population. The stadium, which was constructed in the capital of Limpopo province, was named after politician and activist Peter Mokaba (deceased). It has a capacity of45,500 seats, and it is both a football and a rugby union stadium.
MBOMBELA STADIUM (SOUTH AFRICA)
The Mbombela Stadium was built specifically for the 2010 FIFA World Cup on an open land, seven kilometers west of Mbombela, South Africa. The stadium takes its name from the local municipality of Mbombela in the Mpumalanga province which includes the town of Nelspruit. Mbombela means in SiSwati, “many people in little space”.
The stadium is located approximately 12 kilometers from the Kruger-Mpumalanga airport. It has the shape of a rectangle with rounded corners, which allows 40,929 spectators to have an excellent view of the terrain.
The Mbombela Stadium, which cost US$ 150 million, was constructed by South Basil Read Construction and Bouygues. It opened in October 2009.
STADE D’ANGONDJÉ (GABON)
Located in Libreville, Stade D’Angondjé (or Libreville Friendship Stadium, as its name indicates), is the fruit of a good friendship between Gabon and China. Built by Shanghai Construction Group, it is a beautiful building with40,000 seats. The stadium which is located in the Angondjé district, was the main stadium to host the African Cup of Nations in 2012 and 2017. The first time players touched the turf was during a match between Gabon and Brazil on November 10, 2011.
The stadium of the Sino-Gabonese friendship is 320 meters long making it a 36,000 m2 metallic structure.
CHIAZI NATIONAL STADIUM (ANGOLA)
Located in Cabinda, Angola, the National Stadium of Chiazi is a multi-sport stadium, with a capacity of 20,000 seats. It was built over an 18-month period by China Jiangsu International and cost approximately US $80 million.
The stadium, which was inaugurated on December 30, 2009, is used mainly for football matches and it has been hosting important events such as the Africa Cup of Nations held in Angola in 2010. The stadium is home to the Cabinda Football Club.