SA feeling it more than Germany, say ‘veterans’

2010-06-10 00:00

HOW ready is SA for the World Cup? Pretty ready, say a Hilton couple, and they talk from experience.

Angelos and Helen Christodolou attended both the Athens Olympics in Greece in 2004 and the Fifa World Cup in Germany in 2006.

Angelos said: “We were in Greece in 2003 and everybody foresaw nothing but doom.

“Some even spoke of Al-Qaeda attacks. Others speculated that the event would probably be staged in Australia because, at one stage, central Athens looked and felt like a building site.”

It is hardly surprising, therefore, that the Greek couple have so much praise for South Africa.

They also believe that if history is to be used as a barometer, Bafana Bafana’s prospects of excelling in the World Cup look quite promising.

“In Greece there was certainly an increased demand for tickets once the games began — locals were witnessing their country shining like never before,” said Angelos.

Helen drew parallels between South Africa and Germany.

“In Germany the hype was great, however, it was only in the host cities that you could really feel the vibe — here in South Africa the mood is everywhere.”

She credits South Africa’s “electric mood” to the Football Friday campaign and Bafana’s 12th man — the vuvuzela.

When the Greek football team arrived, the Christodolouses made sure they were on hand to welcome their countrymen. On their way from the King Shaka airport, they passed the Moses Mabhida stadium. “We drove along from Durban North past a wonderfully lit stadium and the beachfront, where construction wor­kers were laying some of the final pavers; and except for a few spots where rubble still needs to be cleared — it is ready,” said Helen.

They had but one sentence for South Africa. “Bafana, treat Mexico like it is the final! Win that game and anything’s possible. We know that’s a tough task — but it’s as important as the first game against Australia in the 1995 Rugby World Cup,” said Angelos.

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