Football Fever in South Africa

The countdown has begun! There are ten days left before the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa officially begins. We, in South Africa, have begun welcoming the teams that will be playing here and are looking forward to welcoming the rest of the world too. I live in Johannesburg – the centre of the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa where this year’s most exciting football matches will be played. I can see the stadium where the FIFA World Cup 2010 finals will be played from my street. Even I, who am not a football fan, have been affected by “Football Fevah”. I have tickets to four of the matches which I purchased in the first round of ticket sales last year.

Our catch phrase is “I can feel it – it is here!”. Our song “When I get older, they’ll call me freedom, Just like a Waving Flag” by K’naan. Our dance – the diski dance! Our ball – the Jabulani World Cup ball which was described by Michael Ballack, the German captain, as fantastic. Our mascot – Zakhumi, the leopard, which can be seen in the flesh in our many game reserves all over the country. Our colours- green and yellow for Bafana Bafana, South Africa’s national team.

It is the first time that the FIFA World Cup will be held on www.ufabet African soil, and the first time that six African nations will be participating, bringing the excitement levels to an all-time high. Football fever is on TV during the commercial breaks, it has been incorporated into our soap opera storylines, it’s in our newspapers, it’s in our magazines. Those who have tickets proudly upload pictures of them on Facebook every day. It dominates the conversation everywhere I go. It’s taken over our lives until the middle of July 2010.

Every Friday is Football Friday where staff at big and small companies alike and students in kindergarten and university alike, dress in the football attire of their favourite teams. The smallest babies and the oldest grandfathers (and grandmothers) are all wearing them. One would be forgiven for thinking that green and yellow are the colours of our national uniform, although the odd person here and there does sport a Germany, Brazil or Italy t-shirt. Most of our cars are adorned in South African flags. Our offices, houses, restaurants and shops are similarly draped in the flags of all the thirty-two participating nations. The eateries are all offering football specials, be they football lunches, football dinners or football meals for kids with a free soccer ball or vuvuzela. Schools go to the stadiums for behind-the-scenes excursions.