This time two years ago the Soccer World Cup 2010 rallied a nation together, our nation. There were predictions that we would fail, that our stadiums wouldn’t be built in time, that our infrastructure would let the fans down and in the end when all was said and done, the doubters became believers. Parades took to the streets, companies let staff go home early to join in the festivities, thousands of South Africans trumpeted their vuvuzela’s, flags were flown from balconies, socks were adorned on our rearview mirrors and our country united like never before.
Saturday the very same camaraderie could be found at Ellis Park. Over 61 000 fans flocked to the stadium to watch the Springboks battle the English. Green and Gold painted the streets of Joburg with a tint of white and red at every other corner, and sure enough when red and green were found together, a little friendly banter could be overheard.
There was a steady influx of rugby enthusiasts into the stadium for most of the afternoon and just before kickoff the masses rushed off to take their seats. The queues in the Castle beer tent was dwindling, the band which entertained the crowd was packing up their gear and the weary patrons in the food stalls were taking a much needed breather. The earlier liveliness found outside the stadium was now contained in Ellis Park cheering the Springbok squad taking their positions on the field. The stadium was emotional and tensions were high. The next 90 minutes were spent on tenterhooks. From scrums to drop kicks, tackles to line outs, penalties to much anticipated tries…our boys didn’t disappoint. We walked away victorious and we were the same proud nation of 2010.
Well done Springboks. And thank you ABSA for sponsoring a winning team and for sponsoring our tickets. We had great fun cheering on the boys!