Soccer fever grips the nation

Friday, May 14, 2010
Kemantha Govender

Durban - With the 2010 FIFA World Cup around the corner, the excitement and soccer fever has gripped the nation.

People around the country are coming up with innovative ways to celebrate the event that is being touted as a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

A football village in Ekurhuleni will ensure that local and international fans experience nothing less than an amazing World Cup.

The Birchwood Hotel is one of several institutions that are taking advantage of the World Cup.

An International Football Village (IFV) will be created for the duration of the first World Cup in Africa.

There will be a German Fan Mile, a Brazilian Caipi bar, a Bavarian beerhouse and the African shebeen everyday from 11am.

Top South African acts, including Jamali, Garth Taylor, Loyiso and Mean Mr Mustard, will be on hand to entertain the crowd.

Birchwood Hotel CEO Kevin Clarence, also the brainchild of the village, said the aim of the IFV is to integrate South African people from all walks of life.

"We invite patriotic South Africans and business leaders to join and support us for this chance to build unity, excitement and morale within businesses and forge closer ties between our compatriots and with the world," said Clarence.

The IFV is located on a five-hectare site at the Birchwood Hotel which is situated close to the OR Tambo International Airport.

Mike de Vries, a German branding and communication expert who was closely involved in the 2006 World Cup in Germany, said: "As the host nation, we have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, to become a part of it and also to showcase true, warm South African hospitality."

Fans will also be treated to parties before each match and there will be football experts at the venue to set the tones of the impending games.

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