Thursday, June 10, 2010

First impressions

First impressions of 2010 World Cup.
After a day on planes and in airports your mind isn't fully operational.

So waking up this morning to see Table Mountain before me it felt like someone had hit me over the head with an iron vuvuzela. I could have rushed to Fleet Street with a story of another journalist falling victim to South Africa's rabid criminal class but I am feeling generous.

A drone of said instrument welcomed me to Johannesburg airport yesterday, already encouraging me to buy ear plugs so as not to return home deaf.

The fans are assembling en masse, tossing the crime fears aside. A global carnival awaits, with unfamiliar friends arriving - I had never seen Uruguayans before in my life until 30 of them walked past me at Joburg airport yesterday. The most numerous I've seen so far - Mexicans here for their opening clash with the hosts, and Australians, the globe's great adventurers.

FIFA merchandise is everywhere and absurdly priced - £60 for a Bafana Bafana jersey anyone?

But everyone has been very friendly and appears excited. Whatever your thoughts on this troubled nation being given the tournament, the locals are really having fun with it.

That is what the World Cup is about after all, not who wins, but who enjoys it most.

(c) Sean O'Conor & Soccerphile

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