Chiedu Collins Odogwu, A Nigerian recounts his experience in South Africa during the 2010 World Cup.
Sandton Hug..Madeba smiles
I have been in Jozi four days now and I am addicted to the beautiful parts of the city. I have walked through Nelson Mandela square so much that if anybody wants to meet up with me, I can’t be too far away from the "feet of greatness," as it is popularly known. With cafe Dela Salute and Belagio flanking the huge Sony 3D dome built to show you the only way to watch football apart from being in the stadium, and the Michelangelo’s prestige looming in the atmosphere, your life is complete being within the fore-walls of Sandton Square.
This was even more evident on June 9th when the fans officially landed South Africa’s shores. My peaceful walkway through Sandton Sqaure was taken over first by a group of unassuming Argentineans, and then the Mexicans came into town officially starting the party with chants of Ahh YaAA YaaA Yaaii!!! This was truly a moment captured in the highlight reel of my life as a top draw event only to be topped by significant personal achievement.
The funniest thing happened at the table across from me and a couple of my friends. A group of Mexican fans were invited to sit at a table filled with South Africans, mostly ladies. Not bad at first glance until they look across to our table and the first chant that comes out of their mouth is "ahEY!!! Puto." Low key we laughed because my table was filled with individuals who at one point in their lives had been forced to take elementary Spanish. Where things went from there I have no reckoning, but all I can say is the savannah did not run dry, Jose Cuervo was so alive that day and men kept on walking Johnny style. Quick glance at the wrist revealed the worst surprise: its only 7:30pm. You’re not a football fan until you share a pint with a strange, yell chants you just got force fed, and Wave flags you don’t even know the meaning of the colors. Somebody make a video and give out countless awards because that is the true meaning of FIFA Fair Play.
Africa; The real winners
Its over!!! The final whistles sounded a while ago. The world hails its new champions. Are we meant to be happy or sad is my next question. This strange feeling is hovering around me. Where has this tournament been all my life? How do I move on? Can I really wait another four years? Africa, South Africa has done us proud in a way never been seen before since our long heritage. Maybe I am too young to remember but I can’t imagine any other world cup that had so many talking points as this one did.
To make a loud noise: that is the aim of every soccer game, show up, day drink, stake your claim, and forget tactics or strategy. The Vuvuzelas definitely helped with the make a deafening noise part. It added to the already electric atmosphere which made being in a stadium in South Africa nothing short of breathe taking. I remember the conversation I had with Ivan Zamarano at the Nigeria Vs Argentina game. I could instantly tell that with the energy in the stadium, he would have come out of retirement just to get the rush of the World Cup feeling if offered the chance. However, there is one thing I miss about previous proceedings that seemingly died due to the "swarm of banchees": The raw chant of the fans. I remember Korea and Japan 2002: "Out with the Argies, your going out with the Argies" or "He’s a Miracle working God x2, He’s the Alpha and Omega." Those chants instantly told you who was playing and what to look out for, hence, traditional world cup fans were a bit disgruntled. But they’ll live. VUVUZELA FORWARD!