Opening ceremony: fans flock to Moses Mabhida to witness soccer history

2009-11-30 00:00

RAIN did not dampen the spirits of thousands of soccer fans who packed the iconic Moses Ma­bhida stadium to watch Amazulu FC play Maritzburg United in the stadium’s historic first game.

Huddled under raincoats and thick jerseys, fans enjoyed the entertainment provided by local singers, dancers and their favourite soccer players.

Dressed in the colours of their teams — Amazulu and Maritzburg United and even Kaizer Chiefs and Orlando Pirates — they raised the volume of the festivities with their vuvuzelas.

They went crazy when pupils of St Nicholas Dio­cesan School walked on to the field with their steel drum band and drummed their way into the hearts of the 22 000-strong crowd.

The Msunduzi Fire Department lent their support to Maritzburg United by erecting a ­giant poster on their stand. The group caught the lenses of the roving cameras and their antics were beamed to the stadium’s giant television screen.

Supporters also got to watch a specially produced video on the construction of the stadium.

Excited fans did a Mexican wave, which circled the stadium almost six times.

eThekwini Mayor Obed Mlaba encouraged supporters to show the world how much they love soccer. “This stadium is for everyon­e. We must … show the world how soccer-mad we are,” he said.

Maritzburg residents made their presence felt, especially whenever their team came close to scoring a goal.

Don Sampson of Woodlands said he was impressed with the stadium and was glad he got an opportunity to watch the first game at the stadium.

“I’m happy with the stadium. It’s really good. Amazulu have a great home ground and should be proud,” he said.

“It’s great that so many people from Maritzburg showed up to support their team. It’s really a special match and I’m proud to be here,” said David Mqanya of Raisethorpe.

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