Fans gather to enjoy Mandela Day spectacle

2013-08-17 11:23

Fans sporting both Bafana Bafana and Springbok memorabilia gathered outside FNB Stadium today ahead of the inaugural Nelson Mandela Sport and Culture Day.

“We are here to support both our teams,” supporter Joe Mathebula said.

“I have been here since the early hours of this morning getting ready for a special day. The country needs to get behind these boys and there will be lots to shout about when the games start.”

The day’s events in recognition of the former president’s contribution to sport in South Africa comprises three major matches at the stadium.

First up, a South African “Legends” soccer team taking on an Italian “Masters” outfit, followed by the Bafana Bafana international friendly game against Burkina Faso.

The Springboks then host Argentina in their 2013 Rugby Championship opener at the same venue. Outside, scores of sports fans waited for the green light to be allowed inside the 90 000 seat stadium which was being prepared for the first match.

Rugby supporters travelled to the venue hours before the kick-off for the Springbok clash in an attempt to avoid mounting traffic activity.

“We will be supporting Bafana today,” said Chris Steenekamp, who was wearing a Springbok jersey and hat.

“It’s not every day that you get two games for the price of one and I have never watched a live soccer match before. My children are very excited to be here. This is a first time for them at this big stadium.”

Traffic congestion remained a problem, with some fans citing a lack of proper signage as a major delay. “I was a bit disappointed, to be honest,” said a supporter who had travelled from Polokwane, Limpopo.

“I tried to find where I could park my car, but there were no signs to direct me. But I found a place eventually and I’m glad to be close to the stadium, away from the chaos at the parking place.”

In the stadium, security and ground staff were the only people allowed in, adding the final touches to their preparations for the day’s activities.

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