SWC ticket fever grips CT
Cape Town - After standing in a queue for 18 hours, bleary-eyed Mahesh Singh couldn't contain his excitement at being one of the first few people in the world to buy a World Cup ticket over the counter on Thursday.
"I am over the moon," said an excited Singh who, at 16:00 on Wednesday, was first in line outside the Cape Town FIFA ticketing office.
The 23-year-old marketing manager told reporters he had spent about R25 000 of his savings on World Cup tickets for him and his family - R17 500 of it on Thursday, the rest on online applications.
"It was well worth the camping," said the Durban native.
Equally excited was 27-year-old Treska Wilson, who was surprised to find herself at number 557 having arrived at the ticketing centre at 6:45.
"I definitely underestimated FIFA fever," said Wilson who said she was not a soccer fan but had "got the fever" from her colleagues.
"It's time to get my vuvu out," said Wilson, blowing on an imaginary vuvuzela.
An hour earlier though, Singh and Wilson were part of about 1 000 other soccer fans who expressed frustration when the ticketing system went off-line and sales didn't start at 9:00 as expected.
"They (FIFA) should have tested the system first," said Adeeb Behardien. "Everybody's frustrated, they haven't slept all night," he said, adding that he had not expected "higher standards" from the world football body.
Adding to the frustration was that most people in the queue were unsure as to what games they would be buying tickets for. They also complained that they had not been given enough information on the availability of tickets and sales venues.
"I don't know what I'm getting, I'm hoping for semis... quarters," said Vusi Nondo, 37. "Thing is I don't have any information. I don't know where to be... Here or the FNB," he said referring to an FNB a few metres away.
Nondo, who was number 403 in the queue, remained determined to see a Bafana Bafana game, even though they don't have any group matches in Cape Town and he will have to drive.
"I have to watch an SA game otherwise why go through the trouble?" said Nondo.
Stefan Maharage, who had been hoping to buy a category 4 group stage ticket, was disappointed to learn that in Cape Town, only one final 16 game had category 4 tickets still available.
"I've been standing here for ten hours," he said. "If FIFA wants sales that's one thing, but what's happening here is something else," Maharage said, adding however, that he would wait his turn to see if there would be any available for him.
Death changes mood
Although the mood was generally festive with people singing and some blowing on vuvuzela's, it got sombre in the morning when a 64-year-old-man, who had come by himself, collapsed and died while waiting to buy World Cup tickets.
"He was standing there in the queue and collapsed. He hit his head," said security guard Louis Visser who tried to revive the man before help arrived.
"I think he had a seizure," Visser said.
Paramedics were unable to revive the man and he was declared dead at the scene.
A total of 500 000 tickets have been made available at 11 ticketing centres around the country, 600 FNB branches and 18 Shoprite/ Checkers sales points from April 19.
Fans will however have to bring an ID and a credit card or cash when applying for the FIFA-sanctioned maximum of 10 tickets per person per match.