South African President Jacob Zuma on Saturday presided over the opening of Soccer City, the new 94,700-seat stadium that will host the opening and final matches of the 2010 FIFA World Cup™.
The stadium's first professional match drew a crowd of 76,000 -- all the seats that were made available for the game -- for the final of South Africa's FA Cup, the Nedbank Cup. Zuma greeted players from AmaZulu of Durban and Wits University of Johannesburg, before standing on the field with his hand on his heart for the playing of the national anthem.
The clay-coloured stadium was inspired by the African calabash, and sits between Johannesburg's downtown and its most famous township of Soweto. The national team Bafana Bafana will play its first match at Soccer City against Colombia on Thursday, ahead of the FIFA World Cup kick-off on 11 June.
In the match, Wits University upset AmaZulu 3-0 in the South African FA Cup final Saturday as Brazilian Fabrico Rodrigues had the honour of scoring the first goal at the venue, punishing a defensive mix-up to beat Argentine goalkeeper Nicolas Gindre on 77 minutes.
Wits had dominated from the kick-off as they chased a first trophy in 15 years, and AmaZulu had three players booked before half-time as they battled to contain livelier and more inventive opponents. But the Johannesburg-based 'Clever Boys' had to wait until stoppage time before clinching the 850,000-dollar first prize with Sifiso Vilakazi scoring twice inside 60 seconds.
Victory entitles Wits to a place in the 2011 African Confederation Cup with third-placed league finishers Kaizer Chiefs while champions SuperSport United and runners-up Mamelodi Sundowns qualify for the African Champions League.