South Africa is considered one of the top countries in the world for hosting sports competitions, thanks to a wonderful track record for delivering as a host nation for global sporting events.
With the 2022 Commonwealth Games set to be hosted in Durban, South Africa, and the city of Cape Town aiming to be added to the Formula One Grand Prix calendar in future, the country is set to add to an impressive list of hosting achievements.
With this in mind, we take a closer look at 8 global sporting events that were successfully hosted in South Africa.
The Africa Cup of Nations in 1996 was a milestone for the country as the first major soccer tournament gracing its shores. Well hosted with large crowds attending matches all over the country, and to top it off, Bafana managed to win the trophy in the presence of president Nelson Mandela.
The late Mandela was an important architect of South Africa winning the hosting rights for the world’s biggest sporting competition, which involved 10 venues in nine host cities. The country did a wonderful job of welcoming hundreds of thousands of fans from around the globe for the showpiece event which was making its debut on the continent.
As the first of the major global sporting events to be held in the country following South Africa’s readmission to international sports, the 1995 Rugby World Cup was a great platform to show what the rainbow nation could do, and in typical style whenever Madiba was present, the Springboks went on to secure the World Cup title against the All Blacks in the final.
South Africa was once again in the sporting spotlight in 2003 when the nation welcomed the best cricketing teams on the planet for the World Cup. Despite a disappointing performances for the host Proteas, supporters came out in numbers to bring life to the competiton which was professionally run, as day-night matches became an exciting element of the World Cup for the first time.
Libya was expected to host the 2013 AFCON, but a revolution in the country in 2011 made for unstable governance and security concerns. The Confederation of African Football reacted by asking South Africa to step in as hosts, and the country accepted the challenge, delivering an excellent tournament which was won by Nigeria.
The multi-billion dollar Indian Premier League (IPL) cricket tournament was successfully hosted in South Africa in 2009, when there were security concerns regarding standard host nation India due to national elections. The IPL Twenty20 championship was played at six venues around the country in front of excited South African cricket fans.
Golf tournaments have been played in SA for many years, but the Joburg Open is amongst the most prestigious. It takes place at the Royal Johannesburg and Kensington Golf Course as part of the South African and European golf tours. Hosted in the city for the 10th time this year, a total of $1.62 million prize money was shared with all of the golfers who make the halfway cut, while the eventual winner earned $217,000.
As the precursor to the World Cup the following year, South Africa hosted the champions of each soccer confederation in 2009. Brazil were crowned as champions at the tournament, which was hosted successfully throughout the country as one of many global sporting events. Bafana managed to reach the semi-finals of the tournament.