As Polokwane prepares for the 2010 FIFA World Cup™ to visit this summer, the newly completed Peter Mokaba Stadium sits right in the heart of the city as its pride and joy. And it is at the new stadium that locals will bask in the excitement of the global extravaganza as matches from four groups will be played out there.
With the exception of periodic visits from the Bafana Bafana players, the last big football star to visit Polokwane was the then largely unknown Didier Drogba back in 2001 when South Africa played Côte d'Ivoire in the FIFA World Cup qualifiers at the old Peter Mokaba Stadium. However, in just four months time, the town will come alive as some of the world’s most decorated players will parade their skills at the impressive new ground.
The state-of-the-art, 45,000-capacity stadium opened its doors to top-flight football in January when some of the county’s premier sides competed in a four-team tournament that also included Danish side, Brondby IF. Other teams that featured were SuperSport United, the Pretoria-based outfit who have won back-to-back Premier Soccer League (PSL) championships, Kaizer Chiefs, who are regarded as the country’s most supported team, and Johannesburg’s Bidvest Wist.
During the stadium opening, Limpopo premier Cassel Mathale said the people of the province were not only proud of the facility but were also excited about the FIFA World Cup coming to their doorstep. “This stadium will be opened to all South Africans regardless of colour, religious belief or political affiliation. This building is constructed by the government of the people for the benefit of the people,” he added.
Besides the Peter Mokaba Stadium, there is more to Polokwane that visitors can enjoy. FIFA.com explores.
Visit Polokwane Game Reserve
Just a 10 minute drive from the city centre is the entrance to the Polokwane Game Reserve. Covering 3,250 hectares, this scenic stretch is one of the largest municipal reserves in South Africa, and it’s home to many enchanting species of animals. Amongst the favourites are the rare white rhino, sable antelope and giraffe.
Enjoy a round of golf
When in Polokwane you can use your spare time to visit the Polokwane Golf Course, one of the oldest golf courses in the country, having been founded in 1863. Over the years the course has evolved into an icon, and with 700 members, it is a hive of activity. Designed to cater to all members of the public, the establishment has a bar, a braai area for grilled meat and a function hall overlooking the ponds and bent grass greens. If golf is your pastime, or if you are just hankering for a cocktail and barbeque at the pool, Polokwane Golf Course is a must.
Lake Fundudzi and Thathe Vondo Forest
Locals refer to Lake Fundudzi as a place of “peace and tranquillity,” and once you visit it won't be long before you realise why people from around the area give such rave reviews. Lake Fundudzi is considered a sacred place for the Venda people, and they have developed much mythology about the area. Also considered rich in magic is the surrounding Thathe Vondo Forest, which is known as the ‘Holy Forest.’