Bafana take on meat-loving, tea-drinking, soccer-mad nation

2010-06-16 17:19

In Uruguay, we live and die for soccer.

These were the words of Rafael Cardoso Etcheverry (27), a student

from the South American country who spoke to City Press hours before the start

of the 2010 Fifa World Cup match between Uruguay and Bafana at Loftus Versfeld

Stadium in Pretoria.

“Soccer moves our country. Between 80 and 90 percent of teenagers

play it.

“Here, in South Africa, it seems rugby is the main sport. But I

think (support for) soccer is increasing,” he said.

Erick Romallo (25), also from Uruguay, said Bafana should expect a

2-1 loss against his national team, courtesy of Diego Forlan and Luis


When asked why his team would concede a goal to Bafana, Romallo

said it was because South Africans were such nice people.

Mauricio Janauskas (28), who hails from Uruguay but lives in

Brazil, shared Romallo’s sentiments about South Africans, adding that, “I had

heard a lot of negative things about South Africa, but I couldn’t have (asked

for) a better reception.”

Janauskas said the key difference between South Africa’s soccer

culture and that of Uruguay was the infamous vuvuzela. “In Uruguay we sing all

the time whereas you guys have the vuvuzela.”

The braai, on the other hand, is something that Uruguayan fans can

relate to. “We barbecue meat,” said Romallo.

“We also drink a tea called maté all the time. No matter how hot it


“We have big flags and everyone gets united, except when the two

big teams play. Then we separate,” he said.

Janauskas predicted that Bafana would suffer a 2-0 loss to Uruguay,

with the balls being bumped into the net by Forlan and Edinson Cavani.

He added that the World Cup went beyond soccer. “It is part of the

unification process that has taken place in this country in the last 20 years,”

he said.

Kick-off is at 8:30pm tonight.

» Uruguay won the first Soccer World

Cup in 1930.

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