Sunday, June 13, 2010

Let the Games Commence.....

Finally after almost 4 years, the World Cup in South Africa is here. Woo Hoo....

We had a casual morning lounging around the apartment, watching and listening to the excitement build on the streets below. Our plan was to watch the first game, South Africa v Mexico in a bar round the corner (The Fireman’s Arms) and then meet up with Richard, a family friend of Yates, and head down to Green Point Stadium.

We had planned to get to the bar early and stake a place, but we massively underestimated the amount of locals that would be taking the day off to watch the game, and when we arrive the place was packed out. After a bit of dealing, Yates sorted out 3 seats almost together and I got the beers in. The vibe in the bar was electric and we soon made friends with those around us as we prepared for the Opening Celebration and then the game.

After a very emotional rendition of the South African national anthem, the game kicked off with wild cheering and hooting vuvuzelas, and we got stuck into an absorbing game. Even though Mexico started the stronger, the Bafana Bafana started to find their rhythm and got more and more into the game as it progressed. Towards the end of the first half, South Africa had a great opportunity to take the lead with a close heading chance, which certainly signalled their intent.

It was not long into the second half when the Bafana Bafana delivered on their first half promise, with a great defence splitting pass from midfield to Tshablala who, with it all still to do, let fly with a missile of a shot that left the Mexican keeper stranded. In the bar in Cape Town it went off.... It was a sensational goal, only matched by the sensational celebration by every South African on the continent. Could they hold on for another 35 minutes...?

Unfortunately a bit of slack defending 15 minutes later let the Mexicans back in it, and now it was a case of whether South Africa could hold on for draw, or could the squeak by and get the winner. They gave it everything they had and if it wasn’t for the width of the goal post, they would of taken a well-deserved win. As it was, dreams don’t always come true, but South Africa should be proud of a creditable draw against higher ranked opponents, and the locals in our bar seemed happy enough.

But the night was just starting for us as we had tickets for our first live game in Cape Town, to watch France v Uruguay. We met up with Richard and strolled down the Fan Walk, accompanied by thousands of happy and friendly fellow fans. The organisation and set up along the Fan Walk and for getting into the stadium was very good and straight-forward with a minimum of queuing to get through the checkpoints. We had no problems with tickets and with an hour or so until kick-off we were in the stadium and having a good look around.

The Cape Town Green Point Stadium is an architectural masterpiece of construction and design and it was a thrill to be able to walk around it after having watched it being built over the past 2 years. The whole layout was awesome and when we went to our seats we had a magnificent unobstructed view of the pitch. Unfortunately the France v Uruguay game did not live up to the quality of the Cape Town venue, the two mediocre teams playing out a dour nil-nil draw, which was not really unexpected. But that didn’t matter, just the chance to bet a part of the World Cup in such a beautiful stadium was enough for us. Within an hour of the final whistle we were back in our apartment watching the game review on TV. We can only hope that our next live game in Cape Town , Italy vs Paraguay lives up to the venue.

Oh and you could say that the fuss about the loudness of the vuvuzela’s is ‘blown’ way out of proportion, in fact I think that they add a lot of colour and excitement during a live game. I guess that the ‘drone’ you hear on TV is not really representative of how they actually sound in real life, and when you watch a game like France v Uruguay, you need something to get excited about.....!!

1 comment:

  1. Hmmm You should have inserted this :)

    to be able to walk around it after having watched it being built

    through Joanne's camera

    over the past 2 years.