Last night was the first time I’ve been inside Soccer City. It was my first time driving in a crowd of 75000 people to a stadium to watch 11 men kick a ball around on a grass pitch. I can’t express sufficiently how unbelievably ecstatic I am that I forced myself to mission through the nearly 2 hours of traffic to get there. Johannesburg is ready for the 2010 Fifa World Cup, South Africans are ready and let me tell you so is Soccer City.
The drive to Soccer City in Soweto may have been epic in proportion but there was not a single minute that I didn’t have a smile on my face. People all around me where hooting in beat with other cars, blowing vuvuzelas, whistles and singing. This is in the street, on the highway, I’m not in the stadium yet.
I’m going to try and be as frank as I can about my experiences and preconceived perceptions going in to the game. I was incredibly nervous going in to the experience that I was over-hyping everything. That I would be looked at funny and frowned upon because I didn’t know enough about the team and players, because I was wearing the wrong thing, saying the wrong thing or because I was white. I was wrong, on all accounts.
We parked (that’s an entirely different story that includes my car being parked in by over 20 other cars!) and walked from the Nasrec Expo Center. We then joined masses of people in the walk down Nasrec Road. We were in the middle of the Shosholoza crew it seemed. They sang and sang and sang until we arrived at the stadium itself.
The Vuvuzelas are epic, unrelenting and extreme energy creators. The crowd too was relentless and exuberant. The didn’t stop for a single second, whether we were down, up or on a par with Columbia there was a song going, a Mexican wave flowing or tune blowing from a Vuvuzela.
With that said though, I must admit that I found the crowd to be extremely disinterested in the actual game being played. They watched and waited for the big moments, the free-kicks, the goals and penalties but not for the moments of flair and brilliance that one needs to pay attention to notice. There weren’t many occasions when good play was applauded, with thanks to the Vuvuzelas whether their were applause or not, you wouldn’t have heard them. So that’s my only criticism I think; I wish the crowd would have paid more attention to the game.
But all in all I was incredibly proud to be a part of that crowd, to be a part of this nation and to call myself South African. If ever there was doubt about whether we were ready for the World Cup, let me put many concerns to bed. After what I saw last night, we are ready and waiting. Bring it on and welcome to Africa.
Oh – yes, Bafana Bafana won in a relatively controversial game of 3 penalties (4 if you include the first one being taken twice). What a great way to open Soccer City to international Football, a victory much needed!
- Bafana lose but SA can still win
- South Africa ROCKED The 2010 FIFA World Cup
- Bafana Bafana makes me a proud South African
- Bafana Bafana wash the All-Whites
- Bafana take down Cameroon
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