Festive fans paint Centurion orange

Monday, June 14, 2010

Pretoria - Hundreds of Dutch soccer fans braved the chilly Pretoria weather and gathered at the Centurion Fan Park to watch the Netherlands take on Denmark.

Dancing to music to ward of the cold, the group of soccer lovers proclaimed their love for their home teams.

Dutch fan, Marc Komen who is part of the "Oranje's" camp at Fountains Valley said: "It is the first time that the World Cup has been held on the African continent and we knew that it was going to be special here.

"We knew that there would be a lot of dancing and singing and all these horns making a terrible noise. I think we all had a pretty good feeling about how it would be."

The Oranje's make up what is widely considered to be one of soccer's most loyal and fervent fan bases. Their distinctive, "in-your-face" orange kit hollers their presence and flaming ardour in any location.

After watching today's game, Komen said the Oranje's will pack up and drive in a convoy of about 180 cars to Durban when their national side take on Japan and then on to Cape Town for their game against Cameroon.

"We are just here to experience Africa and support our team," shouted another who introduced herself as Amanda.

Fan Jon Dahl who came all the way from the United Kingdom, where he works, told BuaNews that his stay in the country has been wonderful so far.

Dahl and his two friends had been touring Southern Africa since May. "We've seen Botswana, Zimbabwe and Swaziland as well."

But the biggest surprise for Dahl was South Africa's diverse culture. "I wasn't expecting that and the people are really friendly," he said, adding that he felt safe.

"I love everything about this place," he proclaimed.

Another Dutch fan, Michael Cees hoped his team - which includes Inter Milan midfielder Wesley Sneijder, Real Madrid attacker Rafael van der Vaart and Bayern Munich winger Arjen Robben - would do well against group members Denmark, Cameroon and Japan.

"If you look at the team from the back to the front, we have really good players," he said.

The Dutch supporters are hoping for a victory against Denmark - who were ahead 1-nil in the second half.

"It's going to be a great day, I could not stay at home, I wanted to come here to experience the atmosphere and celebrate," said Danish fan, Patrick Joris, who came with family to watch the game.