Cape Town wakes up to World Cup

2010-06-11 12:52

Football fans from Africa to Australia to Latin America packed

downtown Cape Town to the piercing din of vuvuzelas before the world’s biggest

sporting event kicked off in Soweto.

“Today something really great is coming from Africa, and I’m really

excited to be African when people from all over the world are watching us,” said

Gillian Malumba, a 28-year-old Congolese immigrant with French flags painted on

his cheeks.

He believed the home side could overcome Mexico 2-0 in their tense

opener in Soccer City, to be shown on big screens on the Grand Parade and

Adderley Street.

“Bafana Bafana is definitely going to do it because the new coach

has known how to put the players in their place.”

Four hours before the opening match, the normally sleepy city’s

main fan area was nearly packed to its 25 000 capacity, car horns honked

incessantly and yellow-clad fans thronged the streets.

Police in riot helmets formed a human chain around part of the

parade.

“We’re here to watch and to drink,” said local Luke Parenzee from

Athlone as he planted himself before a big screen on the parade.

He promised he was 18 and predicted the South African side would

score three goals.

Many foreigners on the parade were treating the opener as a warm-up

match, before they head off to watch France play Uruguay in the new Green Point

Stadium later on Friday.

Irish twins Thomas and David Broderick held up Irish flags

proclaiming French striker Thierry Henry “the best Gaelic footballer in the

world”.

It was a reference to Henry’s infamous handball that saw France

beat Ireland in a World Cup warm-up match in November, Thomas tried to explain

over the noise.

“In Gaelic football you can play with your hands, so that’s why we

say he’s the best.”

Thomas added: “The people here are lovely. It’s brilliant. We’re

not sick of vuvuzelas yet but maybe after three days.”

Australian Graig Alt, 29, had his own yellow metre-long vuvuzela to

match the shirt of his national team.

“It’s really hard to blow. I need to practice.”

He feared for Australia’s chances but hoped Bafana defied all

expectation and kept the host nation in the tournament for weeks to come.

“We want them to keep winning because we want people to keep

partying. The atmosphere is amazing.”

Brazilian estate agent Patrizia Corti, 29, and her father were

wearing Uruguay shirts.

“My dad’s from Uruguay and I saw a tear running from under his

glasses. I said ‘Dad, you’re crying’ and he said ‘It’s emotional’.

“We were given such a great welcome. He wants to buy a Bafana

shirt.”


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