Wednesday, November 17, 2010

USA and South Africa Play Cape Town

Last night, I went to see a friendly between the US and South African soccer teams at the Cape Town Stadium. We scored incredible seats--second row on the sidelines down by the goal. For one hundred rand a ticket ($15). Admittedly, the US didn't play very well--they had the JV out, and it showed. Bafana Bafana deserved to win the game, and the Americans got in a lucky goal (it was a nice goal, and SA was just not finishing well, but the US certainly wasn't dominating the field). But so goes the beautiful game. You can see the game highlights from ESPN Sports Center (and Jamie and Mallory) here.

It was amazing to be there--like the World Cup all over again but without the FIFA Big Brother-ness (ie, beer wasn't Budweiser and only cost R15 instead of R35, there were actual replays on the Jumbotron, etc). Seeing Bafana Bafana play in Cape Town, which they haven't done in six years, was also exciting. And to FINALLY see the US play! It was great. I didn't realize how much I'd missed the World Cup until this game. It was also a lot of fun to be in the minority--though it did attract a smattering of unwanted attention, most South African supporters were so excited to see a few from the other side that everyone wanted to take pictures or cheer with us (we got a few epic "Oles" going). After the US won, almost all of the South African fans congratulated us and showed incredible sportsmanship, which I found impressive.

Making our way to the stadium...who knew that I would miss the sound of a vuvuzela?
Spoiler alert: the nostalgia faded after about 50 minutes of non-stop Chewbacca/bee droning during the game.

Jamie and me.

So many Bafana supporters.

And they were so nice--and wanted to be in our pictures and to share in all the fun. It was wonderful.

Durban and Soccer City are cool stadiums (stadia?). But Cape Town blows them out of the water.

Anthem time.

Biggest surprise of the night: SA President Jacob Zuma made an appearance. He spoke, but not even he could stop the vuvuzelas.

Even Jeanne got a little patriotic, I like to think.

The captains made a statement about PMTCT and the attainability of an HIV-free generation, which was the second biggest surprise of the night and very, very exciting!

Pre-kick off huddle.

On the right, Bafana captain Steven Pienaar and Siphiwe Tshabalala (I LOVE that name), who scored against Mexico in the World Cup opener.

Bafana corner kick. Our goalkeeper, Brad Guzan, played a great game.

The US wins. Bobby takes it all in.

It didn't take long to empty out the stadium.

More pictures are here.

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