After months of drastic detours and frustration over roadworks, 20,000 Capetonians have come away from the inaugural match of the 2010 Soccer World Cup stadium with nothing less than satisfied grins on their faces.
The opening match was a showdown between premier local teams, Santos and Ajax; however, the stadium itself seemed to be the main attraction. Caught up in the atmosphere, I too was absolutely enchanted by the sheer magnitude and chique style of the stadium – a far cry from what is was just months ago.
The buzz of excitement and enthusiasm generated by the crowds of supporters was simply contagious and added to my overall pleasant experience; although there are some downsides that even they could not make me forget.
Firstly, the signs stating the direction of the bathroom were so vague that it took me about half an hour to figure out exactly where to go (15 minutes of which was spent trying to follow the even more vague directions of a stadium security guard).
Secondly, once I finally found my way to the extremely large bathrooms, I was greeted with the gift of a mirage. No water supply to any of the 50-plus taps. Not a drop of water or soap with which to wash my hands. Not good for someone who is OCD about their hands being clean.
Anyway, I grudgingly put aside my feelings of filthiness and refused to let those obstacles ruin this experience for me. Accompanied by many family members, I was bound to have a good time and get sucked into a game which I know little to nothing about. I’m proud to say, however, that I know exactly what a goal looks like. It’s a pity neither Santos nor Ajax do. I fear that a few of them may need glasses too in order to aim the ball for the big white net that’s right in front of them, not lost somewhere in the crowd.
A committed Ajax supporter, I also tried my hand at blowing a ‘Vuvuzela’ – a uniquely South African trumpet-like creation for soccer supporters. I was unsuccessful in my attempt for the most part; however, my dad never gave up trying to get it right and is now donning a very swollen top lip as a result. Angelina, eat your heart out!
From endless Mexican waves to bathroom escapades to baking in the South African sun, my first day at the stadium was finally laid to rest with the sudden death goal of a Santos player. An Ajax win would have been the cherry on the cake, but hey! A cake without cherries is just as sweet. As for the downsides of the stadium, I’m sure they’ll be worked out in time for the World Cup in June. No need to boycott the Cup for a mere tap malfunction after all. Just be like me and take wet wipes with just in case.
I never thought I’d ever say this, but I was one of only 20 000 Capetonians who made history today. It may not seem like much, but it’s a relatively small number when put into perspective. What’s more, it’s a title and experience that nobody can take away from me.
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