Our first stadium match didn’t start until 20:30 South African time (i.e. GMT + 2) but we’d heard about other people missing the opening exchanges of previous games or missing the game entirely due to traffic congestion. The most notable victim was Jonny Clegg who was spotted 4km away from the stadium as traffic came to a standstill on the 11th of June – fans were left surprised when he jumped in the back seat, stripped, and adorned himself in traditional Zulu battle regalia in preparation for his opening ceremony performance… which he still failed to make! As such, we planned to leave at 15:00 so we could be at the stadium as early as possible.
We’d more or less agreed to support Africa or the southern hemisphere, so I donned my Bafana supporter’s colours – pretty much the same colours as Brazil anyway. We (me and my boet) nicked my sister’s face paints and had a relatively successful DIY session and by the time we were done you couldn’t miss us if you were trying. Unfortunately, as prepared as we were, we simply didn’t anticipate that temperatures would drop well below 0°C…
We arrived at the Wits University Campus Park ‘n’ Ride in good time, and just as well… It took 3 hours for the bus to navigate the streets of down town Joburg to Ellis Park Stadium. Fortunately, we made it with enough time for hot dogs followed quite swiftly by a couple of coffees to keep the blood pumping as temperatures continued to plummet to -5°C.
The 62,000 seater Ellis Park was soon heaving with just under 60,000 attendees but the Brazil fans failed to get the Samba vibe going; instead, the Vuvuzela was king. Perhaps like their players, they could not feel the tips of their fingers and toes – and maybe this would explain the conservative performance both on the pitch and in the terraces. It took a rare moment of brilliance from Kaka and what seemed a fluke goal from Maicon to finally bring the game to life in the second half. Despite the late revival, Brazil could only muster another goal before they fell asleep and let Korea sneak one back. Joga Bonito? Not so much! Nevertherless, the game was quite open and it was an experience to remember – of course, it’ll be interesting to see how Brazil do against stronger opposition later in the tournament.
After the game I was stopped by a winkball.com reporter. Caught off guard, I fumbled through my Highlight of The Match.
We had a pretty dramatic episode trying to get back on the bus; some wise guy found a hole in the fence and a whole lot of people decided to jump the queue from the side. The security guards barely reacted and the masses didn’t take kindly to this, (everyone wanted to go home or get to the after parties) and before you knew it a mini stampede ensued. I lost my Vuvuzela and picked up a couple of bruises whilst my brother almost had his neck wrung as people grabbed, pulled, and jostled for a place on the buses – the chaos continued until the horseback police stepped in and restored order. What an end to the day!