OK, I’m lying so it’s not at all calm.
I’ve nipped in off of Cape Town’s Long Street to an internet cafe for a while as it’s pretty deafening between the continuous drone of vuvuzelas and a wrath of accompanying car horns. This type of atmosphere would usually be reserved for a victory parade but Bafana Bafana have been waiting a long time for this, so you’ve got to forgive them for getting a little excited on the eve of the opening ceremony! Latest word is that Nelson Mandela will be in attendance for 15-20 minutes of the match, he’s 91 and he doesn’t want to be outside going deaf for 2 hours in winter! Oh and don’t go trying to hang with him during the World Cup, the dude just wants to kick back and enjoy the football!
The last 3 days of tourist activity have been a bit of a laugh. It’s been fun just walking around seeing the city gradually fill up with football fans from across the globe. Brazil and England are the international teams with the biggest number of fans here at the minute. The Uruguay fans are starting to pour in now too [see photo on the right, en-route to Robben Island] as they gear up for tomorrow’s game with the French. These guys were being followed round for the day by a guy who later told me he was shooting the “other side of the World Cup” for a German magazine. Should be interesting!
I think Uruguay’s Group, A, is going to be one of the closest in the tournament where anything could happen. While South Africa and France can’t seem to score too many goals as of late, they can hold things together quite well at the back (France by tactical defending, Bafana by eh, “playing tough”). Meanwhile Uruguay and Mexico have quite prolific front-men. So how all this will play out is anyone’s guess. I think the game in Cape Town tomorrow will do a lot to determine how things end up. Or maybe we’ll just get 6 draws, and all teams finishing on 3 points and a vuvuzela and noise-o-meter competition will be needed to set them apart.
In my strangest encounter so far, I was having breakfast at 9.30 this morning on the Victoria and Albert Waterfront when I looked up and saw the one and only Ally McCoist across from me. Now, being an Irish person and a bit of a Celtic fan, I would have liked to go over and nut him one, but as it was that early hour of the morning and the poor guy was having his eggy bread I left things as they were. His companion confused me though. I think he was Jon Champion. Or maybe Tony Gubba. Basically one of those “slightly second-rate but very recognisable” voices from Match of the Day in the 1990s who has since turned up at random things on ITV and Sky. Anyone able to identify him? I think they are covering the tournament for ESPN America. And to re-enforce the weirdness of this encounter instead of being normal, saying hello and best-of-luck, I took a papparazzi style picture to post online. Oh dear.
So don’t forget to look out for me on the tele tomorrow as France and Uruguay draw 1-1 in Green Point stadium. I’ll be the one in the crowd with the upside-down Ivory Coast flag sitting with the Uruguay fans throwing some dirty looks in the direction of the French bench where a certain Mr. Henry is likely to be sitting. Unless Aristotle Domenech’s recent 4-3-3 antics has all been a ruse…
Anyway, it’s back to the madness with me. In the meantime, here’s a bit of a slideshow i made last night of the first few “walking around lots” days, pre-World Cup 2010. [click here for full-size images]