SOCIAL EXHIBITIONS & REGALIA
Every South African, young and old, was involved in the World Cup – whether they tried to sing, dance or work in the fan parks.
Football Fridays, where South Africans were encouraged to wear Bafana Bafana’s jersey, became a norm.
The fact that we had the vuvuzela made the World Cup different to any other. It was the noisemaker in the event. Many Europeans didn’t like it. We also had the makarapa. Of course, it’s a miners hat, but it became part of the regalia that the fans wore during the matches.
TSHABALALA’S OPENING GOAL
In the match between South Africa and Mexico, particularly the Siphiwe Tshabalala’s (who played for Kaizer Chiefs at the time) goal, was the kind of opener that you’d script that as “a locally-based player scored the opening goal in the first match of the World Cup and sent off a frenzy atmosphere of celebration and joy inside the stadium.”
I think the concept of the opening concert, goal and match dismissed all doubts (that we could host the tournament). I think people were ready to party and celebrate the achievement of SA.
AFRICA UNITES BEHIND GHANA IN THE QUARTER-FINALS
We hoped that for the first time an African team would be in the semi-finals. We had hoped that Ghana being in the last-eight would make it to the last four.
But then we had the second incident of “The Hand of God” as (Uruguay striker) Luis Suarez used his hand to clear the ball off the goal line, although some say it had already crossed the line. Asamoah Gyan missed the penalty and Ghana lost on penalties. That was the end of African teams at the World Cup and that was a huge blow for all of us.
PAUL THE OCTOPUS
The octopus predicted eight out of eight winners at the World Cup, including getting it correct that Spain would beat Germany in the semi-final.
And that the former, will of course, win the World Cup. But since Paul had predicted six successive victories for the Germans, when he predicted the semi-final outcome in their game against Spain, they wanted to deal with Paul.
They wanted to put Paul in the frying pan and have him as a meal, but at the end of the day he was a very huge focus point of the World Cup.
MADIBA’S SURPRISE APPEARANCE
It was a memorable moment when former SA President Nelson Mandela came to the final, even though it was a bitterly cold night. Madiba was with us during the period of campaigning. He was also there in the final presentation in Zurich.
We were very happy that he could come to the final. Fifa was also happy because when the World Cup trophy first came to SA, the first person to see and touch the trophy was Madiba. And despite the cold night and not being well, he got into a cart and drove around the Soccer City Stadium and waved goodbye to all the fans that had come for the final.