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Dave's World Cup Blog III - Kick off

Dave’s World Cup Blog III – World Cup Kick off.

Ayoba! – Which means Welcome – to my third update.

So the competition has finally kicked off and the level of anticipation was extraordinary – the morning news on television called it the “most important day in South Africa’s history” – which is a pretty massive call.

The more time you spend here though the more you realise that the local population see this as a major turning point in the future of South Africa.

If this tournament convinces people that S Africa is a place they can come and do business and make investments then the country is saved.

However, they are also aware that if the gamble of investing hundreds of millions of dollars into stadia, as opposed to the key pieces of infrastructure that the country needs like more rail links, airports and hospitals, then they have sold the farm and South Africa is dead in the water.

For the South African game against Mexico were hadn’t figured out where we would watch the game but that was soon solved.

My job on tour is to host the daily Football panel show, with Frank Arok and Stan Lazaridis and after today’s discussion a guy from Austrade (the Australian Governments overseas investment arm) approached me and asked if we could do a 15 minute version of the panel at a lunch they were hosting later this afternoon at the V&A Waterfront – about 10 minutes cab from our hotel.

I checked with the lads and they were happy to do it, so we agreed – it was due to be at Half time in the Bafana game, which was starting at 4pm.

So we made our way down to the Waterfront at about 330pm and there were literally tens of thousands of people down there, as all the fan fest sites were full since midday - before the opening ceremony even started @2pm.

After a series of comedic attempts to get directions to the fancy waterfront restaurant we needed to get to, from bemused local volunteers and traffic management people, the guy from Austrade called me back and we had the location.

There were literally two policemen guarding the stairs up to the restaurant and so we made our way to the side entrance through a shopping precinct.

Having fought our way through the crowds we made it into the swish 221 restaurant with all the guests in full business dress - I was horribly under dressed, in my Ireland rugby jersey and a pair of jeans – more on that later.

The view we had from the restaurant windows was brilliant, down into the throng of mainly locals who had gathered around the Waterfronts big screen to watch the game.

Inside meanwhile we sipped South African Red wine and enjoyed canapés whilst watching the game on a couple of plasmas they had set up in the cleared restaurant.
When Bafana scored, that brilliant opening goal, most people rushed across to the windows and the scenes of jubilant below and around the outside of the Waterfront were magnificent.

Afterwards all the South African’s we spoke to admitted they had feared the worst for the game, especially as Mexico started so well, but the goal released all the tension and the competition was up and running with a bang.

In the end Bafana were actually disappointed with a draw but they would have taken 1-1, if it was offered to them before kick off.

Next it will be Ireland...sorry France Vs Uruguay, and my chance to face down Mr Henry.

Until then.
Wed 16/06/2010 Irish Dave 754 views

2 Comments about this article

  • we'd like to see more photos back home on this site of the aussie's that made the long trip over there to support the soccer it is a big committment for them

    Posted by Helen Price Sat Jun 19, 2010 10:37am AEST
  • Hi,

    Thanks for the post about World Cup. Just a tip about those who don't live in countries that stream world cup online. You can use UnoTelly to remove the geoblock and stream World Cup 2014 in your country free https://worldcup.unotelly.com

    Posted by Sau Paulo Thu Jun 12, 2014 02:58am AEST

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