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World Cup 2010 Preview: Nelson Mandela Bay/Port Elizabeth

World Cup 2010 Preview: Nelson Mandela Bay/Port Elizabeth

Named after one of the world’s most renowned statesman and South African icon, Nelson Mandela Bay/Port Elizabeth is one of the most sought-after destinations in South Africa.

Known as the Friendly City, Nelson Mandela Bay/Port Elizabeth is surrounded by immaculate beaches and is one of South Africa’s port cities. It is located in the Eastern Cape Province, which has been home to some of the country’s most iconic figures including Mandela, former president Thabo Mbeki, Steve Biko, Chris Hani, Walter Sisulu, Oliver Tambo and other heroes of the struggle against apartheid.

The city’s buildings are a physical timeline of the architectural change dating as far back as the 19th century.

The Opera House is a good example of Victorian architecture and is still in use and the city also has the richest collection of Art Nouveau buildings in South Africa. Nelson Mandela Bay/Port Elizabeth is an exceptionally busy port city and is regarded as the motor industry capital of South Africa.

The city is a good place from which to discover the enchantments of the Eastern Cape. Five Biomes converge in the province, making it a must for eco-tourism and an opportunity to enjoy South Africa’s diverse geography and the city is a mere 30 minute drive from five-star game lodges.

The sunshine coast, with its rugged unspoiled beaches and Hogsback, which is rumoured to be the inspiration for the Lord of the Rings books, are all within a few hours drive from the city.

Nelson Mandela Bay is a popular destination for visitors to South Africa


Football, rugby and cricket are the most popular sports in this part of the world and it is therefore not surprising that some of the country’s top cricketers, rugby and footballers have emerged from the Eastern Cape Province.

The now-relegated Bay United was the city’s only top flight outfit. And with the team failing to preserve their spot in top flight football, it means the city once again finds itself without a professional club.

Before Bay United, the city’s last professional team was Michau Warriors, which was relegated in 1997.

PE Blackpool played in the top flight in 1991 after the unification of the segregated football leagues. Among other players who from the area are former Bafana Bafana defender Frank Schoeman, Patrick Mayo and Blackburn Rovers forward Elrio van Heerden.

The city was a host for the group and quarter-final stages of the 1996 CAF Africa Cup of Nations.

Most football games have been hosted at the Eastern Province Rugby Football Union stadium.


The Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium, set on the shores of the North End Lake is the first football dedicated stadium in the city or surrounding areas. The stadium, one of the newly-built stadiums for the 2010 FIFA World Cup, was completed a year prior to the commencement of the world’s greatest show on earth - a major milestone for the city.

The Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium will host the match for third place, and a quarter-final amid a total of eight matches during the FIFA World Cup. The stadium has an eye-catching, unique roof-structure and a spectacular view, overlooking the North End Lake.
Before the construction of this multi-purpose venue, all international football matches were played at the Eastern Province rugby stadium, the EPRU Stadium. The playing field is natural grass with the outer / surrounding area to be artificial turf. One of its first major test events was the coveted Soweto Derby between Orlando Pirates and Kaizer Chiefs - a game that attracts capacity crowds in South Africa.

Views over Port Elizabeth

Fast Facts

Name: Nelson Mandela Bay / Port Elizabeth
Province: Eastern Cape
Population: 1,005,779
Altitude: 0m
Geography: Nelson Mandela Bay / Port Elizabeth is nestled in the shelter of Algoa Bay.
Climate: Sub-tropical with winter rainfall. The city has mild temperatures ranging from 20° to 9°C during winter, and 25° to 17°C during summer.
Key Economic Sectors: Motor Industry, Tourism
Professional Football Clubs: Bay United, OR Tambo Cosmos (First Division)


Group B: Korea Republic, Greece
Group G : Côte d’Ivoire, Portugal
Group D : Germany, Serbia
Group H : Chile, Switzerland
Group C : Slovenia, England

Source: FIFA