Feel It… Wait – Where’d It Go?

Clad in every item of green and yellow they could find and wrapped in flags, South African’s gathered to support Bafana in the match that could get them through to the next round of the World Cup 2010. Thats a big thing! All over my facebook homepage throughout the day people were cheering on Bafana, in the hope of them winning tonights match against Uruguay. The thing is, did we really expect them to win? Or were we merely hopeful? I’d say we were filled with masses and masses of hope, rightfully so. Bafana had been doing so well and winning matches prior the start of the World Cup but as I sat with hundreds of people cheering on Bafana, oohing, aahing, whincing, and shouting in all the right moments, what I saw tonight on that monsterous screen was one big disappointment.

Now I will start and be honest by saying that I am no soccer fan. I have minimal knowledge about the rules or skilled required for the sport, so much of what I say is open to criticism and correction of facts. But I did watch the game, and do have some thoughts – be them valid or not.

I cheered on Bafana throughout the match. It was upsetting when Uruguay scored that first goal, but it was only 30 minutes in leaving us with a whole hour to come back in. I thought that was pretty do-able, with my optimistic attitude towards the nights game. At a point, I realised I was quite impressed with Bafana, now I dont know soccer or tactics but I found it quite impressive how they would pass to each other much of the time as opposed to carelessly kicking the ball across the field. This way they at least kept posession of the ball. Though it got to a point where it became ridiculous. Yes, they were in possession of the ball but they just weren’t moving it beyond their half and into the next, in attempt of scoring. Instead they passed it backwards, which as the game progressed and Uruguay kept outdoing them, became a bit frustrating as all you wanted was for the ball to reach the goal posts. And if not the goals, at least the halfway mark of the field!

Uruguay played well for the most. Well, clearly if they beat Bafana (OK, kind of). But I just have to vent about Diego Farlan. Oh my word did he irritate me the entire match. He may have been cute, but seriously from early on he just struck me as a one-man-show and a show off. And that other guy who kept on getting injured… wow, seriously, I’ve heard people chirping soccer players recently for having great acting skills but wow. Seriously?

Everyone is furious, and wants to hunt down, burn at the stake and subsequently castrate the ref for giving the goalie, Khune, a red card. I was just as angry, the thing is I’m not sure why he was given the red card or what he had done wrong? This is in pure ignorance of the rules of the game, and not in disagreement with the ref’s decision. I’d actually appreciate it if someone could explain to me. To me, it didnt look like he had been any more violent than any of the players.

Though that is another complain I have about Bafana. Perhaps it is because I don’t watch soccer, or sport in general, but Bafana tonight (in comparison to the other matches I’ve been watching since the World Cup started last week) just seemed particularly violent. Watching them throw down players etc. Yes, I was rooting for them, but I didn’t see the reason for their barbaricness. For the love of the game? Maybe sport just isn’t meant to be my thing.

And yes, Uruguay scoring that 3rd goal in the last few seconds of extra time was terrible. It tore away our last scraps of hopes, stomped on them, and used it to wipe our tears. It burned. But it was embarrassing. In my opinion, Bafana did not play on top form tonight. I have heard chirps from people overseas saying how we’re only in the games because we’re the host country, and tonight proved why we’re just the default. In all fairness, of all the people who were so hard core Bafana fans tonight, how many of them believed we even stood a chance when 2009 rolled into the ever-waited 2010? I’m not so sure.

Tonight hurt us. It could be seen as soon as Uruguay scored that goal, and even on screen you could see spectators leaving. The camera panned across empty seats of which minutes before were filled with hopefuly supporters. Even the venue where I was, seating a good couple hundred people, saw people slowly moving out, not wanting to bare witness to the final score. The thing is, this doesn’t stop our pride at being South African. So we lost a soccer match, we’re not gonna win the world cup. 31 other countries experience it every 4 years. The fact of the matter is the when push came to shove, South Africa as a host country pulled through and showed the world what they were capable of. Bafana were squashed by Uruguay. The ref was an idiot (or so I am reading on facebook). But its over. Well done Bafana, your country supported you – worse could have happened. At the end of the day, its only soccer. Better luck next time.

Feel It… It Is Here!

Right now is the opening match of the FIFA World Cup 2010. I’m watching the game live, as I type. I’m sure the world is excited for this event, but its never the same as posting from the host country. I am definetelly not the first blogger to post about this event, and probably not the first from South Africa either. But each experience is unique.

I can’t speak for how the vibe is in other parts of the world or even here over past World Cups, as I’m really not much of a Soccer fan. But its hard when you’re living in the host country to not catch on with the hype as you see it everywhere. You don’t just see it. You Hear it. You feel it.

We never thought we’d be ready – and look at us now. Its been a very exciting day. I was out today in town walking the streets and I’ve never seen such excitement. This was at a time where there was as of yet no match being played, let alone in the city – and the vibe was awesome. The trees were wrapped with flags, flags hung everywhere and people were all over the show dressed up in their Bafana Bafana paraphanaelia. The country has never been so united, or so proud to be united. All over the show, cars have South African flags – on their dashboards, off their windows and over their car mirrors (I love love love mirror socks!!!).

How can we forget the sound of the Vuvuzela? The instrument which after the Confed Cup was meant to be banned. But oh no, no one can take this sound and spirit away from South Africans. We go to sleep hearing them in the distance, wake up hearing them in the morning, and continue to hear them all day. As I type, I hear them from the live match. Today, walking through town I saw masses of people carrying them as they walk, blowing them at odd moments whenever they felt like. But it doesnt matter when you blow, because somewhere nearby, another person is blowing theirs. Its like a mating call. The sound of South Africans coming together. And after our past, that in and of itself is something magical.

Its hard just not to be excited. This morning just getting in the car and hearing the radio changes everything, the media has all the power in the world to intice excitement. And theyre doing a fantastic job! On 5fm, a local radio station they were giving away tickets to each of the playing countries. All over facebook, South African statuses state “It is time” or other such phrases which capture their individual excitement. People posting about being proudly South African after watching the Kick Off Concert last night, last night people were at fan parks going crazy, everyone sharing their excitement with the world – or at least their facebook friends!

Friends of mine were up Table Mountain today, and even they heard the sound of Vuvuzelas all the way up there. Amazing. As we left town, yes so there was traffic but thats besides the point, we forgot that there was the opening match at 4 and everyone was going to the Fan Park. The ammount of people you see walking the streets to the same central point. Dressed proudly supporting Bafana. In all their crazy attire. We bring the magic. We bring the gees. Its enough to keep you entertained, or ina good mood all through the traffic.

This is what the country has been counting towards for the last 6 years. The Gautrain. The rapid transport system. The stadiums. All are ready. We’re clearly ready. Let the world see us shine.

1 day to go...& the 35m Vuvuzela!

A Jewish Vuvuzela

Recently I’ve been spending a lot of time surfing the internet for my next Media Seminar assignment which I’ve been thinking of doing on the Vuvuzela. I think the funniest was a link I found to a site which talks about Vuvuzelas being used in Israel. I Just find it funny because its so unusual to be reading something in Hebrew about something so close to home. I might edit this post tomorrow when its not so late and give you some translations. 80% of people reading this won’t understand (due to your inability to speak the Holy Tongue) but for those of you who do (and there should be a fair number considering my posts are updated to facebook) check it out even if it is just for shits and giggles 🙂