World Cup #4 – Bafana Bafana

Patience sometimes pays off.

Decided to head to Soccer City stadium for the tournament’s opener between South Africa, or Bafana Bafana, and Mexico on Friday. The plan was to hang out and take a few fan photos and get a general sense of how game days operate around here.

I’ve been on the waitlist for the match for a couple months now, so thought there was no chance of getting in. However after registering at the photo accreditation booth, photographers on the waitlist were asked to hang around and see if there were any spots still available.

An hour later my name was called and this lifelong football fan was ushered in to take up a position on the sidelines at the first game of World Cup 2010.

There was plenty Mexican green present but obviously the vast majority of the 85,000 strong crowd were wearing the home side’s yellow, most of who were pressing their lips to the now famous, or infamous, vuvuzela. There’s no proper way to convey the energy in the stadium. It’s a noise you can almost touch.

Most will say the match ended fairly in a 1-1 draw. Though it’s not too much of a leap to think most neutrals would have liked Siphiwe Tshabalala’s opening strike to be the winner, if only to satisfy the exuberant local support.

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