Euphoria: Man Utd fans light up Mabhida in a delighted frenzy

2012-07-19 00:00

THE atmosphere at Moses Mabhida Stadium last night brought back memories of 2010’s World Cup euphoria as fans started arriving at the venue for last night’s AmaZulu and Manchester United friendly hours before kickoff.

By 5.30 pm traffic outside the stadium was at a standstill as spectators waited, some more patiently than others, to find safe parking for their vehicles.

The 8.10 pm kickoff marked AmaZulu’s 80th anniversary, after some 51 000 fans had sung “Happy Birthday” to Nelson Mandela in an emotional moment that brought a sense of perspective to the occasion.

Similar to what was seen at the World Cup, a large fan zone was erected just outside the stadium where a music-filled carnival vibe prevailed in the hours leading up to game time.

A small but vocal contingent of AmaZulu fans had gathered in a crowd that was dominated by South Africa’s United fans.

As the teams walked on to the field, Mabhida’s stands resembled a summer night sky as thousands of camera flashes lit up what was already a bright and vibrant venue.

A host of dignitaries, led by KwaZulu-Natal Premier Zweli Mkhize, were given their two minutes in the sun when they met the 22 players who started the match.

United are to leave for Cape Town tomorrow for another friendly with local side Ajax.

A coaching clinic with local schoolchildren will be held today at the King Goodwill Zwelithini Stadium in Umlazi. While none of the touring players will attend the session, United legend Bryan Robson and former United and Bafana Bafana midfielder Quinton Fortune will be conducting the clinic.

That will round up an exciting four days for Durban, with many fans having attended all of it, from the airport arrival on Monday night, the open training session on Tuesday and last night’s match, which ended 1-0 for the favourites.

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