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”.