Feel it, it was here. It’s been 10 years since South Africa hosted the FIFA World Cup, a first for the country and the continent. Excitement filled the air as fans prepared to watch their favourite players from around the globe land on African soil. It was a time like no other – a month-long, nationwide party where everyone felt the good vibrations. Call us biased, but we think it turned out to be a pretty great World Cup.

Journey back with us as we take a look at some of the highlights of that magical time.

The opening ceremony and first match

The opening ceremony of the World Cup was held at Soccer City Stadium in Johannesburg, two hours before the first kick-off between South Africa and Mexico. Dignitaries, including 20 heads of state, attended the spectacle where 1500 performers entertained the crowd. A pre-recorded message by Nelson Mandela was played.

Bafana Bafana’s Siphiwe Tshabalala got the tournament off to a hopeful start when he scored the first goal in the second half. But Rafael Marquez denied the winning dream with a late equaliser for Mexico resulting in a 1-1 draw.

Zakumi the mascot

When Zakumi, the official mascot of the 2010 World Cup, was unveiled he wasn’t universally loved. His green hair, his cartoonish smile; locals had many criticisms of the little leopard mascot. But, as the days went on and the positivity and vibe took over we came to love the little guy, and soon he became like family. Sure, we could still criticise him, but people from other nations better not!


The first match in Cape Town

The first match played at Cape Town Stadium on 11 June 2010 was between Uruguay and France and resulted in a goalless draw. Neither team manage to capitalise on the opening game’s tie between Mexico and SA and so no team  in Group A had an early advantage. 

Cape Town Stadium (image via @capetownstadium)

The vuvuzelas

Vuvuzelas have always been a part of South African soccer but they got introduced to the rest of the world in a big way during the World Cup. Let’s just say not everybody loved it as much as we do. International broadcasters complained that they were ruining the sound on their broadcasts, players complained that they couldn’t concentrate during games, and couldn’t rest properly at half-time. There were addressed in opinion pieces, talk shows and on social media around the globe.

Fifa even proposed banning vuvuzelas during the World Cup but this was met with sheer indignation from locals and the football authority relented. The vuvuzela is a part of local soccer and not even Fifa could take that away.

Cape Town Stadium facts

Cape Town Stadium was previously known as Green Point Stadium. Construction of the newly-designed stadium started in March 2007 and it took 33 months to complete the project. Cape Town Executive Mayor Alderman Dan Plato received the keys to the Cape Town Stadium on 14 December 2009.


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Matches at Cape Town Stadium

Cape Town Stadium hosted 8 matches during the 2010 FIFA World Cup.






11 June 2010

Group A

Uruguay 0-0 France


14 June 2010

Group F

Italy 1-1 Paraguay


18 June 2010

Group C

England 0-0 Algeria


21 June 2010

Group G

Portugal 7-0 Korea DPR


24 June 2010

Group E

Cameroon 1-2 Netherlands


29 June 2010

Round of 16

Spain 1-0 Portugal


3 July 2010


Argentina 0-4 Germany


6 July 2010


Uruguay 2-3 Netherlands

The Fan Walk

A sea of colourfully-dressed soccer fans was a sight to behold on match day in Cape Town as they all marched along the fan walk towards Cape Town Stadium. The Fan Walk is a 2.6km long pedestrian link along Darling, Strand, Adderley, Riebeek and Waterkant streets, through to Somerset Road, towards the stadium. This walk to the stadium created a vibrant pre-game atmosphere.

Fans walking towards Cape Town Stadium (Skye Grove via Pinterest)

Fan Fests

Fan Fests were a way for fans who didn’t have tickets to the stadium matches to still watch together and experience the spirit of the World Cup. In Cape Town, the main Fan Fest was at the Grand Parade, where up to 25 000 people could gather to enjoy the games on match day.  There were 16 official FIFA Fan Fests across South Africa.

The songs

K’naan’s song Wavin’ Flag was the official anthem, while Shakira’s Waka Waka (This Time for Africa) was the official song. Have a listen below and relive the glorious memories of that magical time.

The champions

While the final match was played in Johannesburg between Spain and the Netherlands, the World Cup Champions (Spain) played at Cape Town Stadium in the round of 16, beating Portugal by 1 goal.


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