Excitement brews as clock ticks

Friday, June 11, 2010

Durban - With just hours to go before the kick-off of the 2010 FIFA World Cup, BuaNews caught up with two Durban families who are getting ready for what they call the biggest party of their lives.

Yada Khumalo is five-years-old. She runs around randomly shouting: "Bafana Bafana!" and blows her vuvuleza continuously.

Her parents Nomonde and Linda Khumalo explain that their young daughter doesn't fully understand just how massive the 2010 FIFA World Cup is but is happy to support the national team.

Her enthusiasm has inspired her mum, who up until recently never understood or enjoyed football. But things are quickly changing in the Khumalo household.

"I never used to watch soccer, but now you can't not watch the game. I am learning it and enjoy watching it with my husband and child," said Nomonde.

The Khumalos have already visited four stadiums and are quite impressed by what the country have managed to achieve in such a short space of time.

"We have been to Moses Mabhida, Orlando Stadium, Soccer City and Princess Magogo. There is no doubt Durban has the best stadium but Soccer City is just too amazing," said Linda. Although, Linda failed to get any tickets to the matches, he will ensure his family doesn't miss out on the feverish atmosphere that is gripping the nation.

The Glenwood family will watch some games at home and others at the FIFA fan fest. Linda, a Kazier Chiefs die-hard fan, doesn't struggle to describe how he feels about the tournament.

"I am just too excited. This is really a once-in-lifetime opportunity. I mean I don't think in our generation will we get to host the World Cup again. Once and for all, people will finally see our country for what it is and not their outdated perceptions," said Linda.

He is equally feisty when it comes to Bafana Bafana.

Linda said: "We only started playing international football recently. We managed to win the African Cup of Nations and for the first couple of years was ranked in the top five in Africa. Yes we had our down falls after that. But we need to look at how the team has grown".

"The hype that is around now is great because the teams need our support. And you can see that they are gaining confidence in the way they are playing now. South Africans are saying to Bafana Bafana they can do it and they will".

Linda feels that the side is starting to show that they can hold their own against international sides like Spain, Denmark and Bulgaria.

His wish though his for South Africans to become more supportive of local teams that compete in the Premier League.

"People in South Africa watch so much overseas football. We complain that local teams are too slow. They just don't understand our style of football," said Linda.

Nomonde said as a novice she will stay away from making any predictions but Linda is convinced Africa will have a reason to smile and it will come from either Ghana or Cameroon making the final.

Asokan Govender started his flag displays over a month now and has been attempting to buy tickets from round two of ticket sales.

Govender got his tickets for almost every game in Durban and is overjoyed ahead of Sunday's clash between Germany and Australia.

It will be Govender's first live World Cup match and he is ready.

"I have decorated my work station with flags and have organised an inter company World Cup with all the six floors that occupy our building at work. It's going to be a fun and electric atmosphere for all of us," said Govender.

He heaped tons of praise on South Africa's ability to meet their deadlines.

"The country has done so well in their organisation. There is just so much stuff, roads, accommodating airport upgrades that we managed to get done on time," added Govender.

But it's not just South Africa's organisation that has impressed Govender, it's only Bafana Bafana's impact on the nation.

"I feel that they have really united the country. We didn't have this before - the flags on the cars - and the support. Now everyone is in such good spirits about our team," said Govender.
And how far will Bafana go?

Govender thinks South Africa can do quite well at the group stages, given their latest performances and "France's poor showing".

As the adage goes.... only time will tell... in Bafana Bafana's case, it just a matter of hours.