Thanks to The Husband’s cycling obsession, the two of us were running around the French Alps last week, while absolutely EVERYONE here in Jozi was taking joyrides on the Gautrain, getting inspired by Alicia Keys and waka waka-ing or vuvuzela-ing at the opening match. So unfair!
I was trying to get vicariously fired up for the World Cup through people’s Facebook posts, but it just wasn’t the same.
Even when I landed at OR Tambo on Wednesday and everyone was talking about the calabash and R Kelly and the Jabulani and I was totally lost. (R Kelly came to SA and no-one told me?)
But when the World Cup fever bit later that day, it bit badly! I was on my way to meet friends so that we could all head to Loftus for the SA-Uruguay game. I’d heard that Shakira would be performing the World Cup theme song, but I hadn’t heard the actual song yet. So when Waka Waka started playing on my car radio, it felt like the 2010 Football Fever Gods were playing it just for me! I completely confess to snivelling and drivelling to the lines: “it’s time for Africa”. (Can't you just hear them in your head, right now?) Like I said, the fever really bit!
The Waka Waka song was such a great build-up to the match itself and everything surrounding the match. An historic affair for SA, of course, but also an historic affair for yours truly, since I have never in my life-time watched an entire soccer match from start to finish. What an experience all 'round! Hatfield’s student drag was absolutely PUMPING with spectators from as early as 4pm. The street, the bars, the car parks, EVERYWHERE was jam-packed with supporters. Random strangers offered us their excess SA flag tattoos which we plastered on our cheeks, before we covered ourselves in hats, scarves and body paints. I never thought I’d say this about a chain food establishment but even dinner at Nando’s was a jol – everyone in the place was decked out in SA garb, people were slapping each other on the back, high-fiving, low-fiving and just generally LOVING life. I don’t think I’ve felt this much of a vibe amongst complete strangers since Matric New Year’s on Plett beach. It totally rocked!
The atmosphere in the stadium was even more electric. People were going mental on their vuvuzela’s, dancing, singing and basically going wild. And somehow it all seemed "normal".
Admittedly, Itumeleng Khune’s red card was tragic. Beyond tragic. It almost seemed surreal that he’d been sent off – in fact, some people around us thought that the replacement goalie was actually Khune back from a trip to the bog. Our group tried to empathise with these morons, “Yes, VERY confusing when they’re both wearing those exact same red outfits, right?” (Secretly, I was delighted at their blunder since I didn’t know it was possible for someone on this planet to have a worse understanding of soccer than myself).
So yes, Bafana Bafana got decidedly walloped by Uruguay. But here’s what I say: at least our boys don’t wear alice-bands and lie on the floor and cry like babies from a bit of a shin bump. What a bunch of girls!
And of course the ref was just ABSOLUTELY useless (yes, I am an expert now). I couldn’t have put it better than the writers put it on Hayibo.com: "Bafana Uruguay Referee Spends Night Sleeping With One Eye Open”
Do yourself a favour and check out the article – it’s hilarious.
Looking forward to a rocking World Cup weekend!