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Sunday, July 18, 2010

AmazinK - Bafana Bafana

I wish I'd taken my camera (rather than my phone) to AmaZinK for the South Africa-Uruguay game which we watched there. The atmosphere was amazing and the little hairs were standing up on my neck as I recognised the unity which football/soccer brings and the amazing congregation of people who were there watching ... young, old, all races and socioeconomic status, Mamas with blankets, old white guys with vuvuzelas, everyone behind South Africa and willing them to do well. For me it was one of those occasions that I'll remember for the rest of my life. And I'll smile while doing so!! The score didn't reflect the atmosphere that night!

England v USA at the Fan Park ...

Day number 2 and we headed off to watch England v USA at the fan park in Cape Town. Katie dressed everyone up for the USA gig (thanks to the funky additions from Katie's Mom, and taken on a trip around the USA by me!).

The fan park was in Grand Parade, right next to the place where Nelson Mandela gave his first speech after his release.

The American needed some help to spell U-S-A ...

There we go!! (Nice head wear from the South African ... Dale!)

I made Craig (and the USA flag) inch towards the English guy for the picture ... priceless!

Proof that I was there ... and not too dressed up! We did find lots of other Americans!! And English too!

Craig loving his new headband ;-)

Opening Day

We had looked forward to opening day for months! The opening game was at Soccer City and Katie and I had plans to go to the fan park to watch the game ... but hours and hours before the game the signs on the motorway said the fan park was full and to avoid the town! We headed down to the faithful Dubliner but that too had a queue reaching down the street! Another bar had a R100 cover charge and we ended up in an artsy bar with a great view of a tv! We ate there and then wandered down to Green Point Stadium for the first game in Cape Town. The fan walk was amazing (pictures on future posts) and this opening game was the only one that I went to where there were stewards incharge (they soon went on strike over low pay and the police took over!). Good times. The atmosphere was amazing, the game was pretty average. The most exciting part was where the announcer pronounced "There will be a substitution for Paraguay ... I ... err... mean Uruguay!". Diego Forlan hadn't mastered the art of finding the net and France hadn't exercised their abilities on or off the field at this point.

Green Point Stadium

The photo is pretty foggy but there's always a Scottish flag somewhere or other. Even if they never qualify for a World Cup tournament ;-)


The South African flag was shown at all the games! And everyone's favourite ... the vuvuzela ...

Little Bafana Bafana ...

With the amazing lead up to the World Cup I thought I'd had a great idea to organise sponsorship so all the kids at the children's home got "Bafana Bafana" (SA's national soccer team) shirts ... only to find that their latest newsletter had requested them (the newsletter arrived that day!). So we bought shirts for the kids and they *loved* them! We have been drawing South African flags for months now at the house!

World Cup 2010

With the World Cup approaching I travelled back to South Africa on a plane with World Cup visitors including a bunch of Mexicans with large sombreros, peacock feathers and other fancy dress!!

South Africa hosted an amazing event and it was surely a dream come true for a footy/soccer fan as myself to live through it. Apart from supporting South Africa (who didn’t?) I had no other serious ties (apart from Algeria) and it was thoroughly enjoyed. A couple of weeks into the tournament I voiced that I wanted the World Cup to last forever. Not long after I realised I may never get *anything* done if the World Cup continued!

I thoroughly enjoyed seeing 4 games at the Greenpoint Stadium in Cape Town, to watch at the fan park and walk the fan walk on a number of different occasions. But, I also got to watch games in some really random and fun places … my house (!), others houses, Italy in an Italian restaurant (with all the Italians taking the day off!), AmazinK in the Kayamandi township, various wine bars, restaurants and pubs but I think one of the most fun places to watch was England v Germany in the knockout stages where we watched at Cape Town Airport! The atmosphere was brilliant and we had a fun mix of English, German and alsorts of other fans.

Certainly 4 weeks of memories and a wonderful experience for me. I highly recommend being part of the World Cup and the first in Africa was certainly sensational!