Observations from Soccer City

Last night was my first World Cup experience as a fan. An Ivory Coast scarf wrapped round my neck, I watched Les Elephants lose 3-1 to Brazil at Soccer City. Some thoughts…

  • South Africans may have bought tickets in large numbers, but are they football fans? Many of those I sat with behind the goal last night were clearly going for the first time. Some were more interested in starting a Mexican Wave after five minutes than watching the football. With 10 minutes to go, and Ivory Coast back in it after Didier Drogba had pulled one back, people started leaving. “Traffic,” muttered one, as I asked why he was going
  • Selling ice creams at a night match during a winter World Cup is not a good idea
  • The park and ride scheme for Soccer City is working brilliantly. It took us less than an hour to get to the stadium after parking at Wits University, while on the way back the queues were orderly, moving fast and there were enough buses to take us all home. We were back at the car park within an hour and 15 minutes of the match ending. (I realise this wasn’t the case in Rustenburg, but then lots of things are worse in Rustenburg)
  • Category 3 is better than Category 1. We couldn’t see much of the action at the other end but it didn’t matter. The atmosphere was great and we got a fantastic view of Luis Fabiano’s first goal (the one where he didn’t handball it twice in the build-up) and Drogba’s consolation. Those in Category 1 (price: $180) had a great birds’ eye view of the whole pitch, but were as far away from the action is one can be. I know which seats I prefer.
  • Luis Fabiano is the new Thierry Henry
  • The Premier League is ludicrously over priced. It cost me $80 (about £55) to watch one of the best teams in the world take on some of Africa’s most talented players at an incredible stadium in a World Cup match. It would cost more to watch Chelsea, Arsenal, Manchester United or Tottenham in the Premier League
  • None of my teams (England, Nigeria, Ivory Coast and South Africa) have won yet.

4 Comments to “Observations from Soccer City”

  1. By Koketso KK, June 21, 2010 @ 1:44 pm

    I have to agree with you on the Park n Ride scheme, it has really worked wonders for us South Africans. it would be good to see it being implemented in some of our local games, i.e. The Soweto derby.

    quick question. where can i get the book ( Africa United)?

  2. By Steve, June 21, 2010 @ 4:18 pm

    It should be available in SA at Exclusive Books but there seems to be a distribution problem. I’ll put a post up here when it’s (finally) available.
    Steve

  3. By Anna Georges Eshoo, June 25, 2010 @ 3:33 pm

    Epic post! I am definitely looking forward to seeing more posts :)

  4. By Phil Tolhurst, June 25, 2010 @ 7:12 pm

    I too was at the Cote D’Ivoir Vs Brazil match.

    I think some people left early but that was their look out we hung around a while before heading out on the tail of the crowds.

    I have to say we enjoyed our half time Ice Creams – coming from the UK it wasn’t like it was cold and they were very reasonably priced!!!

    I have a great shot of the first goal, I was sitting up in the gods directly in line with the goal facing the tunnel.

    Park and ride was great except for a massive problem with the dust while waiting for the bus back to Gold Reef City.

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