Reuters Soccer Blog
World Soccer views and news
Residents of the small Mpumalanga mining town of Barberton say they will continue to support the world cup despite the first round exit of the national team, Bafana Bafana, from the tournament after failing to achieve the impossible odds of beating France 4-0 in order to have a long shot chance of making the next round.
Vuvuzelas could be heard all over Emjindini, Barberton’s Township, during the Bafana Bafana and France encounter on Tuesday afternoon with the sound rising to a deafening level, accompanied by wild cheers, as Bafana Bafana scored their first goal.
The scene inside a shop called Mashipisa, were about fifty had crammed in to watch the match, was near pandemonium when Bafana Bafana scored their second goal.
Shouts of “siyabashaya, siyayishaya iFrance” (we are going to beat them, we are going to beat France) reverberated through the small shop.
However, the excitement was diminished when the French netted one in the second half. And while the end result seemingly was met with disappointment, many still expressed happiness at Bafana beating a team the calibre of France in the World Cup, calling the victory “our revenge for 1998”.
The close proximity to Nelspruit, only 40km away, one of the tournament’s host cities, gave Barberton residents the opportunity to experience the World Cup first hand. Convoys of cars leaving Barberton for Nelspruit could be seen, with flags waving on antennas and Vuvuzelas being blown out windows, when matches were held.
One resident, Duduzile Mhlanga, who was desperate to attend the opening match at the Mbombela stadium but did not have a ticket and transport but eventually made it to the Chile vs Honduras said, “I had to make a plan there was no way I was going to miss this experience its a once in a lifetime chance and it was great”.
But overall it is clear that World Cup fever has taken root in Barberton and support of the tournament has not been diminished by the first round departure of Bafana Bafana.
As a taxi driver put it on Wednesday morning, “It’s too exciting not to support it just because Bafana is out. Besides we are proud of what the country has achieved”.
I have decided that the World Cup fan parks are not my cup of tea. I am a bit of a football snob who prefers to either watch the game at the stadium or in front of the telly where I can follow the proceedings closely.
So, after much hustling and trying to purchase a ticket to the opening match of the 2010 Fifa World Cup, I ended up at the Sandton Fan Park at Innisfree Park.
Scores of Bafana Bafana fans made their way to the Polokwane Fan Fest area in a public demonstration of utter patriotism.
One among the huge number of that braved the winter afternoon chills is an extraordinary young man. With his face painted in the South African flag colours, clearly done by one zealous street vendor, Morris Raseruti gave off a big smile when I asked him how he felt to be at the Fan Fest area in Polokwane in the middle of such a loud crowd of people witnessing the first game of the first African soccer world cup.
What started as a hunt for Mexican fans became a front row seat to one of the greatest street parties ever seen in South Africa as World Cup fever cranked up several notches on a sun-kissed afternoon in Johannesburg yesterday.
As I strolled the street looking for sombreros all I could find was a sea of green and gold as tens of thousands proud South Africans roared on their team, passing by in an open top bus.
Joel Santana arrived for what he thought was a routine review of his work with his South African Football Association bosses on Monday and within hours was packing his bags for a return to Brazil, ending his tenure as the 15th coach employed by South Africa in the last 17 years.
The run of poor results in recent internationals plus last year’s early elimination from the African Nations Cup qualifiers, had left Bafana Bafana in deep crisis, a team without any confidence or direction and running out of time before hosting the 2010 World Cup finals.