Not only did the 2010 FIFA World Cup rock my world, it rocked South Africa, Africa and the entire world. That might seem like a sweeping statement however last nights match was apparently viewed by close to 3bn people the world over. Massive, massive, massive.
The opening ceremony was incredible as was the closing ceremony last night. But before I climb in to the praise and ask for some public apologies let me run through my World Cup experience.
I went to 4 live games. I attend 4 different stadiums. I partook in 2 different fanparks and visited many, many pubs over the World Cup Month.
The matches I saw
My first game was Denmark vs Cameroon at Loftus. The tickets to that game were provided to me by Brand South Africa and they kicked off my World Cup in serious style. I parked at Hatfield square in Pretoria, devoured a MASSIVE pizza at Cheeky’s pub and then walked up to the stadium. This was also the first time I’d been to Loftus so I was really getting the full experience.
On arrival I kept asking where exactly I should be going until eventually i was pointed towards the closed of section that encased gate 5. Gate 5 provides the entrance and exit for the box seats at Loftus. Yes, you are correct. My first experience of the world cup was in the warmth, comfort and style of box Loftus seats.
Here are some photos:
The second game I went to was the match between Greece and Argentine in Polokwane. The stadium is fantastic, there is very, very little to do around the stadium and that was the day that South Africa beat France. We watched that game at the Fanpark in Polokwane which was jam-packed with supporters.
Alas Greece did not win but I was able to see the great Argentinian team play:
The third game was an incredible experience that I will never forget and it’s all with thanks to a fantastic friend of mine!
Soccer City – the most incredible stadium I went to with the most amazing crowd and vibe. I was fortunate enough to be given VIP tickets to the Argentina vs Mexico Round 16 game. What an experience; the food, the seats and the experience were second to none. On top of that I was able to see incredible football played by both Mexico and Argentina but ultimately Argentina went through.
The Soccer City experience:
And then there was trusty Ellis Park and the Brazil vs Chile Round 16 game. It’s always a pleasure watching the greatest football nation in the world kick around the leather (or Jabulani as it’s known these days).
Here’s a couple pics:
I want to know if the good Editors over in that lovely Island commonly known as England are forcing their staff (read: Naysayers) to throw together some quick apologies? I doubt it. The best revenge is to live well, I was told once. Let’s be honest as South Africans we need nothing more than to let the world see – as they have – how well we have done in hosting the 2010 FIFA World Cup. We ROCKED it, we were given the opportunity to show the world how fantastic our nation is and we grasped it with both hands and ran with it one foot in front of the next.
Personally I would like to see more people thanking Danny Jordaan and his incredible team for their hard work over a period of more than 6 years. They deserve as much credit as they can take in and they now deserve a break; A long and well-deserved vacation.
Finally South Africa is not being seen the world over as the nation that overcame Apartheid. That is a great achievement to be known for and I am proud of my history but in the past 30 days (read: 6 years) we’ve been building towards changing the perception of the world. Hosting the 2010 FIFA World Cup I truly feel that our nation can finally feel like we can bask in the glory of a job well done. We were great hosts as individuals, as towns, cities, provinces and as a nation. We partied hard, we played hard, we worked hard and we definitely supported this world cup like no event before it!
I am incredibly excited to see the nation finally jumping on the SA Rocks bandwagon, it’s taken about 3 years and over 1000 blog posts to get to where we are (Oh yes, and the World Cup!) but here we are. A proud nation. I am a proud South African yet again.
The truth of this country is a simple one; We like to bitch, moan and look at the dark lining of silver clouds. And that’s where we’re headed. We’re headed in to the hangover period after one helluva party. It’s going to be tough and let me preempt the naysayers before they have the chance to chime in: There are many, many, many problems in this country that the world cup did not solve. There was a lot of money spent on the World Cup that could have been spent on building houses or hiring more police. That is all true. But nothing would have unified a nation like a World Cup. Nothing.
One foot in front of the next, that is how you walk down the road, one foot in front of the next. We start building a nation and the nation will help build itself.
Here are most of the photos from my World Cup experience. A big thanks to Brand South Africa and you-know-who for the tickets I was very fortunate to be given!
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