Tag Archives: 2010 world cup

Football matches of 2010

Football matches of 2010
It's hard to believe that it's been almost a year since the world arrived on our doorstep. This makeshift scoreboard and graffiti is part of the remnant left over from the 2010 Football World Cup.

Besides for us being a football-crazy nation, we were excited to host the world cup event because of the promise of long-term revenue that the publicity around the event would generate. It's a pity that revenue derived as a result of the World Cup is so difficult to measure - I'd be interested to know how much effect the event had, and continues to have, on our economy.

A boy and his vuvuzela

A boy and his vuvuzela
This photo shows just how easy it is to blow a vuvuzela. This kid was blowing the horn like a regular pro football supporter - full of gusto.

The vuvuzela aside - doesn't this photo show the good degree of racial unification that's happened in our country over the last 15 to 20 years?

A three-headed Argentinian fan

A three-headed Argentinian fan
When looking at photos of matches after the event it's always sad to see an optimistic fan that would have been crushed by the outcome of the match. In this one Germany thumped Argentina pretty convincingly and any die-hard fan would certainly have been utterly depressed.

I don't follow Argentinian football, so I'm unsure why he would have these heads strapped to his ears. Dalma and Gianna, as I understand, are Argentinian hero, Diego Maradona's daughters - so this does seem a little odd to me...

Our magnificent glass roof

Cape Town Stadium
I have to admit that when I first heard that Cape Town Stadium would have a glass roof - I couldn't work out how they would construct a piece of glass to fit over such a huge expanse. I guess however I was being a little silly, and it all made sense when I saw it for the first time.

The glass roof is more of a glass trimming around the stadium's open top. The glass allows light in, makes the stadium feel more spacious, and keeps those in the stands dry in the event of rain. Players on the other hand don't have it quite as comfortable and most certainly won't benefit too much from the covering!

Jabulani means to celebrate!

The Jabulani soccer ball
Jabulani is the name that was given to the official ball of the 2010 FIFA World Cup. As I indicated in the title of this post, the word jabulani means "to celebrate" in one of South Africa's most widely spoken native languages, Zulu.

Incidentally, this ball was also the cause of a lot of controversy during the World Cup as many football players claimed that it was too light and hence frequently behaved differently to what they were accustom to. Fortunately for us we had nothing to do with the making of the ball as I understand the making was coordinated between FIFA and Adidas. Phew! :)

Loveless Uruguay

A Uruguaian supporter
Uruguay must have received very little love from South Africa during the World Cup after what many deemed to be extremely dubious football tactics and practices. Fortunately these things blow over fast and South African's in general don't hold grudges for very long at all. By the end of the World Cup we'd forgiven them and moved on to celebrating The Beautiful Game.

Don't you just love that people are so passionate about their team that they're prepared to go to all the effort of painting their faces like this? This guy was just one of many that went that extra mile. :)

Our beautiful stadium up close

Outside Cape Town Stadium
After passing by the security checkpoint at Cape Town Stadium and beholding this view, I realised again how privileged we are to have such a beautiful and well designed stadium.

If you're disappointed at the lack of text in this article, don't be sad, please refer here for the background.

Quay 4 at the Waterfront

Quay Four
If you've been to the V&A Waterfront then you must at least have seen Quay Four, and I guess it's likely that you've enjoyed a drink and perhaps lunch on their outside deck while watching boats sail past the quays.

We've watched one or two football games at Quay Four over the past weeks, and of the places in the Waterfront to view the games, I'd have to rate it to be the place I've enjoyed the most. If you're around and if you want to catch some of the excitement, then this would be a great place to start. Only, allow me to suggest that you arrive a couple of hours before the match to ensure that you get a comfy seat with a good view of the television.

Netherlands, football and South Africans

It's amazing to see how much South African support Netherlands has had in this World Cup. I wasn't at the previous match that the team played in Cape Town, but friends said that the city was a sea of orange with everyone dressed in the Dutch colour.

I guess the reason is obvious, and that is that many white South Africans are of Dutch descent and after our own team exited the World Cup they default to support the team of their forefathers, Netherlands.

Don't you just love the couple in this photo? :)

A red robot at the Waterfront

Coke's red robot

I watched for a while as a few workmen constructed this Coca-Cola robot at the V&A Waterfront. They've used red scaffolding and Coca-Cola crates to build the figure. I'm not sure what they plan to do with it, but it's clearly part of their marketing campaign around the World Cup football.

The company has put such a huge marketing drive behind the football that I'm sure you've seen it, but on the off chance that you haven't, here's a short animated television ad that I think somehow must tie in with the robot.

Cape Town Stadium after England vs Algeria

Cape Town Stadium after England vs. Algeria
Tickets in hand, we arrived at the England vs Algeria game about 10 minutes after it had started. The sound, as we approached the stadium, was unlike anything we'd ever heard before. England supporters were there in force, cheering and singing for their team. As we got closer to the stadium we could see white flags with red crosses hanging from the pavilions - it reminded me of a scene from a gladiator contest in medieval England. As we entered, amidst the roar of the crowd, I almost expected to see shining knights riding white horses!

Unfortunately for England, all the shouting, blowing of vuvuzelas, and singing wasn't enough. The "mighty" England team suffered a 0-0 draw against Algeria, a team ranked far lower than them. The mood after the match was a pretty sombre one and even though we decided to support Algeria in this match we felt genuinely sorry for the thousands of supporters who had high hopes of a spectacular win.

Match results aside, as we walked to meet friends at a local restaurant we stopped to take this photo from the edge of the lake. It really was the most beautiful of evenings - the air was warm and there was no wind to speak of. Isn't this just the most grandest stadium?

Football – bridging the racial divide

South African supporters
It's ironic that the oppression brought to our country by colonialism also gave South Africa a game that transgressed racial boundaries and became so ingrained into our black South African culture that to me (a fair-skinned South African) it seems as though football originated in Africa. Even though it never originates here, it really seems like an African sport!

More than 20 years ago, during the apartheid years, football was also segregated according to racial lines. Separate governing bodies existed and separate stadiums housed football events. Hell, football matches were even used by the ANC to hold "secret" political gatherings! Today our country's flag, shown in the photo, symbolises exactly what has happened to football over the past few years. The paths of different races and cultures have joined to unite in common support for our team, Bafana Bafana.

We thought it amazing when black South Africans joined in support of our mostly-white Springbok rugby team. I now find it even more amazing how white South Africa has joined with black in support of the mostly-black Bafana Bafana team.

Bafana Bafana, even though you lost the match on Wednesday evening, you've made your country proud. All the best for the next game! ===========<O "Paaaaaaaarrrrrp"

When to blow your vuvuzela

Blowing a vuvuzela

Many foreign visitors to South Africa have bought their own vuvuzelas to take along to matches, fan parks, and actually any place where football is being watched. An interesting thing that we noticed is that sometimes newbie vuvuzela-blowers don't know when it's appropriate to blow the instrument. Sometimes you'll find that the people not accustomed to the vuvuzela blow it when the opposing team scores a goal, or one of their star players is yellow-carded. It seemed as though these folk correlate the "paaaaaaarp" sound with a "booooooooo" when in fact the vuvuzela is intended to be blown when your team scores a goal, or plays particularly well. It's meant as a sound of encouragement.

Seasoned vuvuzela players play in rhythm with each other, producing different notes with rhythmic calls and call-backs. Kerry-Anne noticed that many people new to the instrument overwhelmingly blow single lonesome blasts that do in fact often sound like the noise that a depressed elephant would make. If you're one of these people, don't take this as negative criticism - I too class myself as a newbie and a learner vuvuzela-blower (although I do try to avoid playing the depressed elephant song). :)

Soccer stars of the future

Future football kids

Cape Town's V&A Waterfront has over the last few days been buzzing with people from all over the world. It's like the colours in our Rainbow Nation have overnight multiplied several times over... it's awesome! People are smiling, singing, and dancing all over the place. Flags are flying and vuvuzelas are blowing - and on that note (ha ha) it's not only Africans walking with vuvuzela in hand. :)

Don't you just love the attitude that's written all over the these kids' faces? They look so proud to be dressed up in all their gear. :D

Foosball and elevators

Foosball and Elevators

Even my corporate employer has caught the World Cup football spirit. Elevator doors in this photo and on each floor in our building now feature silhouetted football players with a stadium full of fans in the background. The glass interior has been covered with photos of crowds in a stadium, and foosball tables have been offered as prizes to be won by a couple of lucky employees.

People all over our office are wearing their yellow Bafana Bafana tops, and casual corridor conversations inevitably include talk about some aspect of a match, the chance of one team winning over another, how well a particular team played, what games people have tickets to watch, and how best to get to and from the stadium.

If you know where I work and have an interest in the company, not to worry, you don't have to be alarmed. Real work is continuing at a breakneck speed - and in fact some of my colleagues are in the office as I write, at 10pm, developing software, fixing bugs and testing applications. Respect, guys, respect!

The first day of the Football World Cup

Celebrating the first match

I left work at about lunchtime, collected Kerry-Anne from home and headed into Cape Town to join thousands of football fans at the V&A Waterfront to watch the 2010 Football World Cup opening ceremony.

The Waterfront was alive with people excitedly preparing to watch the ceremony and first match. We watched the ceremony at the amphitheatre, very proudly reflecting on what our little country at the tip of the large African continent has achieved in so little time. I don't think any of us really comprehend the amount of effort, planning and expertise that went into organising every detail of this event. From the stadiums and the roadworks to the planning of dance routines, coaching of kids, and preparing to receive thousands of foreign visitors... it's all been executed pretty darn awesomely!

From our restaurant table at Wang Thai, Kerry-Anne and I proudly watched our team, Bafana Bafana (ranked 83rd in the world), play a great game against Mexico (ranked 17th), drawing 1-1 after 93 minutes. We left the packed restaurant after the match, had some coffee at a nearby coffee shop, and then slowly walked over to the Cape Town Stadium for the match between France and Uruguay.

This was the first time that we'd visited the stadium, and I have to say to the team who put it together: wow, you did good! I didn't realise that a stadium could be so beautiful!

Cape Town’s large vuvuzela

Cape Town's large vuvuzela
Due to it's "noisiness" the vuvuzela (voo-voo-zai[r]-la) was one of the the more contentious topics around the FIFA Football World Cup that was kicked off at about about 14h00. The vuvuzela is essentially a long plastic trumpet that you blow into while allowing your squished up lips to vibrate as the air passes between them. That folks is the buzzing sound that you keep hearing on your televisions while watching the matches!

This huge vuvuzela, obviously sponsored by Hyundai, was placed on the end of this unfinished bridge in Cape Town. Apparently the vuvuzela has a truck hooter horn attached to the end that will be activated each time a goal is scored in Cape Town Stadium. :)

Many locals previously complained bitterly about the noise created by the vuvuzelas, but now that the World Cup has arrived it seems like the complaints have died down and vuvuzela sales have gone up... drastically! Most of my colleagues at work arrived proudly wearing Bafana Bafana tshirts and/or South African flags, with many carrying their newly-bought vuvuzelas. The atmosphere in our offices was huge (almost like this vuvuzela ;) )!

In my next post I'll let you know how the opening ceremony and the game between Bafana Bafana and Mexico went; as well as our experience at the first match (France vs. Uruguay) in the Cape Town Stadium.

Ke nako – It’s time

Cars and flags

"Ke nako" is a Sotho phrase that forms part of the official 2010 Football World Cup slogan, "Ke Nako. Celebrate Africa's Humanity.".

Basically, the phrase means "it's time", and refers to the fact that it's time for Africa to be in the world's spotlight. It's time for Africa to host the Word Cup of a sport that's hugely important to millions of Africans. It's time for Africa to welcome the world to her shores. And it's time for the world to recognise that Africa can be the capable host of a world-class event.

Over the past few weeks, and increasingly over the past few days, we've seen people wearing our team's colours and cars driving with flags flying on their bonnets or roofs. We even have flags covering our cars' side mirrors! It seems like in the last week the vibe has escalated and our sleepy city has woken up and realised that it's time. Ke nako!

Public Transport on World Cup match days

Flags in the Ticketing Office
We're going to be at the first World Cup football match played in Cape Town on Friday 11 June. It's going to be awesome! :)

Given that we live about 25km outside of Cape Town, in the Northern Suburbs, we have one of two options to get to the stadium. We could drive as far as we are able to (considering that there will be loads of road closures), or we could take the train into Cape Town and then either walk the 2.6km to the stadium or catch a bus.

To be sure that we don't miss out on the vibe of the day we're very keen on taking the train into Cape Town. According to the capetown.gov.za site we won't have to worry about buying rail or bus tickets as we're able to use our match tickets to get a free ride leading to and from the stadium. Yay!

See the government site's transport page for for maps and detailed information relating to transport on match days. And, if you intend taking a car into the city be sure to familiarise yourself with the road closures - it'll save you plenty of time and frustration.

Cape Town’s Football World Cup Ticket Office

Ticket Office
If you haven't picked up your tickets for the World Cup football matches in Cape Town, then best head on over to the FIFA ticket sales and collections office as soon as possible. We visited to collect our tickets for three of the matches. It was really a piece of cake - everyone was in a festive mood, the officials were friendly and we were in and out in a flash.

Check the ticketing page on FIFA's website if you're not sure where to find the office. If you prefer a map, I've marked it on this Google Maps map. :)

Time to clean up!

Car wash open

For the last few weeks construction work in the city has been going on like there's no tomorrow, and now with the start of the football world cup being only days away it's like the entire city has suddenly switched over from building-mode to cleaning-mode, making itself ready for our international guests to arrive.

We've seen huge road-cleaning machines sweeping gutters, workmen sweeping down pavements (side-walks), and structures getting a fresh coat of paint. Banners are going up, flags are flying, and excitement is brewing. Get ready South Africa, get ready Cape Town, our guests are about to arrive!

2010 Football World Cup – loads to get done

Cape Town Stadium

So, in my previous photo I showed a view of the Cape Town Stadium in all its majesty. I zoomed in from the same vantage point (just above the highest road in Green Point) to capture this photo (and this one) of workmen furiously putting the final touches on the 68,000-seater grand structure.

There were many South Africans (around the time of the announcement that the 2010 Football World Cup was to be hosted here) that were negative and said things like there's no way that we'd be ready to host the World Cup. They said that there was no way that we'd be able to build the stadiums required to host such a large event.

Since the announcement we've seen several new roads, bridges and stadiums spring up out of the earth. With the World Cup only a few months away, there's still a lot to get done and time will tell whether or not our country was able to host such a large event successfully, and whether or not we'll end the month proud to be African.

If I were to put my money on it, I'd say June's going to be a good one.

The Cape Town Stadium – a prime location

Cape Town Stadium

The predecessor to the Cape Town Stadium was known as Green Point Stadium. The old stadium was somewhat underwhelming when compared to the new one that you can see in this picture.

I remember a few years back going to watch bands like Metallica and singers like Robbie Williams performing at Green Point Stadium. I even remember having a school athletics competition there many years ago. The old Green Point Stadium holds many memories for many South Africans, but even so, I can't say that I'm sad to see it replaced with a sparkling-white shiny new stadium. :)

In the beginning… there was 2010

2010 and the Football World Cup

For South Africa, 1 January 2010 in some way marks the start of a new era. As I walked through the Waterfront I wasn't sure whether or not it was reality or my own thoughts that caused me to think that something felt different in the air, in the vibe.

Perhaps it's difficult for people who're not at all interested in football to understand the significance of a country hosting the Football World Cup. Two of the reasons why it's important to us are:

  1. Football is a huge sport worldwide, and the country hosting the event in a sense has a massive captive audience. Tourism is a big industry in our country. Increasing tourism in the long-term leads to more jobs for people who currently don't have work.
  2. The vast majority of our population is black, and during the battle with apartheid, football was the one outlet that they had. From what I've read, it was a place to have fun and (in a way) temporarily forget about their oppression. Although apartheid itself is a thing of the past, the legacy it left still continues to affect our society in many ways. And so the excitement and passion of The Beautiful Game continues to be an escape for many from the difficulties of their everyday lives.

For several years, the dream of hosting the World Cup, with a chance to see the stars in action, has been just that - a distant dream. Perhaps the realisation that this dream is finally about to come true is the greatest reason why 2010 has been met with huge optimism, excitement and expectation. Make sure you can say, "I was there." ;-)

2010 Football World Cup draw celebrations in Long Street, Cape Town

Brazillian football supporter
Following on from my previous post about the 2010 World Cup draw - after walking down from where we'd parked, we arrived at the security checkpoint, where our bags were checked and metal detectors were used to scan for weapons. That was the easy part. From then on we battled the crowd to work our way to a spot where we could see one of the large television screens.

The road got so crowded that we could hardly move at times, and the police eventually closed the gates to prevent any more people from entering Long Street. Apparently there were in excess of 120,000 people in the street! Still, everybody was having fun and it seemed there were smiles permanently etched on most people's faces.

From early afternoon, the stage (which was way up ahead of us) had hosted popular bands and entertainers; and all evening we had stilt-walkers, huge puppets walking over the crowd, and topless dancers keeping us entertained. (Nah, I'm kidding about the topless dancers. ;) ).

The crowd quietened down as the live telecast of the final draw started playing, and huge cheers erupted each time one of our national heroes was introduced. There was a palpable sense of collective pride at what South Africa and its people have managed to achieve. All in all, the atmosphere was fantastic - a taste of what visitors can expect to experience during next year's World Cup.

Take a look at our photo album for more shots from the Long Street party.

Getting to the 2010 football draw in Cape Town

Walking to the Football draw in Long Street
After work Kerry-Anne and I rushed in to the city to be a part of the 2010 World Cup Football celebrations. If you're not aware of what was happening - it was the final draw of who would play against who in the first round of matches.

Contrary to what I thought, traffic in Cape Town was a breeze, although finding parking close to Long Street (where the festivities were being held) was next to impossible. We eventually found a spot somewhere far above Long Street and took a brisk walk down to Long Street past groups of excited people - many talking about how awesome it'll be in June next year.

The evening was awesome, and in a little while and I'll write follow-up article with more detail about what happened along with a photo album that'll give you a feel for what it was like in Long Street.

Let the party begin!

2010 football sign

Tomorrow is a beeeeg day in Cape Town. Just in case you didn't know, South Africa is hosting the FIFA World Cup next year. Yes... of course you knew that. :) Have a look at the banner on the building to the left - it's one of a number of banners put up by Cape Town Tourism to promote Cape Town as one of the 2010 World Cup host cities.

Anyhow, tomorrow is when we'll have our first glimpse of what we can expect come June next year. The final draw to determine the tournament groupings is taking place tomorrow in Cape Town, and the city is gearing up for quite a party. People have been hearing helicopters and fighter jets overhead for a few days now; someone spotted David Beckham having dinner at the One & Only Hotel this evening; and apparently Charlize Theron is in town. I don't think it would be melodramatic to say that there's a real sense of excitement and expectation hanging in the air.

Tomorrow evening a whole lot of VIPs and media will be gathering at the Convention Centre for the official draw, while the rest of the plebs party it up at the special party venue being prepared in Long Street. An estimated 700 million people are expected to watch the draw live on television tomorrow, in 200 countries all across the world. If you're one of them, keep an eye out for us. We'll be in Long Street with all the other plebs. :D

Wakame and Green Point Stadium

Wakame and Green Point Stadium

At least one of our UK readers in particular will immediately recognise the inside of Wakame, a popular tapas and sushi restaurant in Mouille Point, located very close to the Green Point soccer stadium. In fact, the stadium is precisely what you can see brighly lit out in the darkness.

While we were enjoying really (very) good sushi, I watched welding sparks dropping to the ground from the structure in the distance. It would seem the stadium's construction workers are putting in some serious overtime to catch up after last week's wage dispute.

Football World Cup logistics, organisation, and the vuvuzela

Greenpoint football stadium

The Green Point soccer stadium, seen here from the Cape Town Waterfront area, looks to be fast approaching completion. There are still tall cranes looming over the empty stadium, but far fewer than you may recall in photos that I posted in 2007 and 2008. Just take a look at the progress made since June 2007!

If you've been following our recent posts you'll know that we're away from Cape Town on holiday for two weeks, and that Mandy J Watson has been kind enough to help out with a couple of photos, including this one.

This evening Kerry-Anne and I were privileged to watch South Africa and Spain battle it out in a Confederations Cup match in Bloemfontein; since this tournament is a trial run for next year's World Cup, and in light of this photo, I thought I'd give you a reportback on my experience from a logistics and organisation perspective.

First, I guess I should state that I'm not a sports fan, so I think I'm able to view the situation objectively without the excitement that allows fans to overlook the negative aspects of the experience.

So, objectively:

  • It was easy to find parking and it took a matter of 5 minutes to get into the stadium, and head up the stairs to our seats.
  • Finding our seats was fairly easy... we just looked at our ticket, consulted the boards, entered through the correct gate, read the signs, and we were good to go.
  • Apart from the signs giving directions, it seemed that at almost every turn there was a friendly official ready to point us in the right direction.
  • The venue wasn't too crowded, and the seating wasn't cramped.
  • The queues at the ladies' toilets were VERY long at half time. This is normal, of course, but that doesn't mean it's okay.
  • I've never been a fan of the vuvuzela (that long plastic trumpet that South African supporters blow at soccer matches), but to be honest, it really wasn't so bad. They weren't too loud and I have to say that they did add to the atmosphere significantly. They are an integral part of South African soccer culture and it just wouldn't be the same without them.
  • The only time that the trumpets did become annoying was after the match while we were walking through the Loch Logan shopping mall next to the stadium. Googols of fans blowing trumpets in a confined space made of reflective tiles and glass isn't good for one's ears!

My only suggestions are:

  • Think about where you will park your car before the time and how congested the area will be after the match.
  • Buy ear plugs from a music store - you'll still be able to enjoy the atmosphere, even if you find a vuvuzela positioned right next to your ear. :)