Nine cities and 10 stadiums will host and showcase the 2010 Fifa World Cup South Africa playoffs, kicking off at Soccer City stadium in Johannesburg, South Africa, on June 11, 2010 and ending with the final playoff, also at Soccer City stadium, on July 11.

Of the 10 stadiums, five – including Soccer City - are being upgraded. The other five state-of-the-art stadiums are headed toward completion, having been specially designed and built from scratch.

The stadiums and cities are:

Johannesburg  - The economic hub of South Africa, located in the densely populated province of Gauteng.

2010 World Cup stadiums:

Soccer City (pictured right) and Ellis Park

World Cup matches:

10 first-round matches (including the opening);

two second-round matches;

two quarterfinals;

and the final.

Cape Town — The “Mother City,” is the oldest city in South Africa with a cultural heritage spanning more than 300 years. Located in the south of the Western Cape province, near the winelands, it is South Africa’s most popular tourist destination city.

World Cup stadium:

Greenpoint Stadium (top right)

World Cup matches:

five first-round matches;

one second-round match;

one quarterfinal;

one semifinal.

Durban — A bustling subtropical city and the largest in the province of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban is a popular tourist destination, a favorite with surfers and one of the busiest ports in Africa.

World Cup stadium:

Moses Mabhida Stadium (pictured right, above the BAT (arts) center, also in Durban)

World Cup matches:

five first-round matches;

one second-round match;

one semifinal.

Pretoria — The administrative capital of South Africa, Pretoria is located north of Johannesburg in the province of Gauteng. It is, in part, a cultural city with several grand monuments, some fine architecture and lovely open spaces.

World Cup stadium:

Loftus Versfeld Stadium

World Cup matches:

five first-round matches;

one second-round match.

Port Elizabeth — Known as the friendly city and also the windy city, the coastal city of Port Elizabeth lies in Nelson Mandela Bay on the Wild Coast of the Eastern Cape province.

World Cup stadium:

Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium (pictured right)

World Cup matches:

five first-round matches;

one second-round match;

one quarterfinal;

and the third-place playoff.

Bloemfontein — The capital of the Free State, Bloemfontein — the name means “flower fountain” — boasts thousands of rose bushes and some poignant memorials.

World Cup stadium:

Vodacom Park (pictured right)

World Cup matches:

five first-round matches;

one second-round match.

Rustenburg — The Rustenburg area in North West province is one of the world’s most heavily mined regions, with a wealth of platinum underground. Perhaps surprisingly, the area is pretty scenic.

World Cup stadium:

Royal Bafokeng Stadium

World Cup matches:

four first-round matches;

one second-round match.

Nelspruit — The capital of Mpumalanga province lies in the fertile valley of the Crocodile River, about 330 km east of Johannesburg.

World Cup stadium:

Mbombela Stadium

World Cup matches:

five first-round matches

Polokwane — Situated on the Great North road to Zimbabwe, the capital of Limpopo province is located near the border of the world-famous Kruger National Park.

World Cup stadium:

Peter Mokaba Stadium (immediately above, right)

World Cup matches: four first-round matches.

PUBLICATION: www.examiner.com
AUTHOR: Wanda Hennig
DATED: 16th August 2009