A trip down memory lane. And not too distant memory either. World Cup 2010. What a time it was. World Cup 2010 will be with us forever. Eish, but it was a lekker time, hey! One of the slogans for the event was “Feel it, it’s here.” We South Africans turned that into ‘Feelip is here’. People would ask “Who’s Feelip? Perhaps we’re the only ones who get it. Who can forget Zakumi. The mascot we all panned at first, but found affection for later. And did anyone actually learn the Diski Dance?
What is it about football? The last four weeks have been a rollercoaster of immersion and I for one have had a thrilling time.
The pride of seeing the South African flag flying on every other car on the road; flags of the thirty participating countries flying on buildings all over the city and South Africans celebrating Bafana Bafana in a parade that brought Sandton to a standstill. The air reverberated with the blare of the Vuvuzela, which had foreign teams and even some vistors completely confounded; but for us it was a call to combat; the roar of potential; the proclamation of hope. For four weeks we heard the Vuvuzela. The song said ‘it’s the sound of a victory’. FIFA World Cup 2010 is most certainly a victory for South Africa.
I’m going to miss our visitors. When have we ever been so cosmopolitan; so many people from so many countries filling our city centers, shopping centres, restaurants and tourist centers. It’s been so much fun being out and about in the midst of them. There has been a constant festive energy. The Brazilians brought the Samba and the Mexican’s brought Tequila! The party never ended. It has been very difficult to work.
I’m going to miss Bafana Friday, when we all donned our yellow and green football shirts without regard to how unflattering they are on the female form. We were in support of our team. I hope we can maintain the feeling of unity that prevailed, when we stopped pretending that we don’t love our country and each other. Who was not proud to be a South African, with the eyes of the world on us and the news channels of the world full of good news and admiration of our people, our cities, our cultures, and above all, our beautiful stadiums. And the stadiums rocked with an energy that was overwhelming. It was Ayoba indeed!
In all honesty before it all began I had no intention of watching any but the South Africa matches. What for? Football is one of those things I watch because the man wants to watch, but I always have a magazine or computer at hand to help ease the boredom. I don’t know what happened. But I got totally caught up in the highs of the goal scoring, the lows of the losing and the anguished silence in the soul when the other team equalizes. I was at one with the national despair when Uruguay beat us. The Vuvuzela fell silent as people moped out of the stadium.
Someone asked me, ‘when did you become so interested in Football?’ It just happened; and this game changed me. It deviously wormed its way deep into the core of my being; it made contact with the thing I never knew resided there; my inner football fan and after exposure to only a few games I was hooked. Such was the infectiousness of ‘world cup fever’. I gave myself over to the complete gamut of emotions that result from bad calls by referees, and the outrageous red carding of our goalie. Are they mad? I screamed and punched the air at goals that were scored but disallowed, handballs that went unpunished, and missed penalties . When I watched in amazement the antics of the drama queen teams, the brazenness of the cheats and the brutality of the fouls something totally unconstrained was unleashed within me. My inner football fan was trampled by my inner football hooligan.
Bafana Bafana vs. France and Ghana vs. Uruguay unleashed my hooligan most virulently. Suddenly I would find myself on my feet, gesticulating at the television. I became so rude. Profane expletives that I would never ordinarily utter; which I didn’t know I knew found their way into the forefront of my brain, and were flying perniciously off my tongue and out of my mouth. Out of the blue the referee became a ‘bleep bleep’ idiot, or worse. The commentators didn’t know what they were talking about and I, who only days before didn’t even know what ‘off side’ meant, was in possession of the winning strategies, which, if Bafana Bafana, or Black Stars had only been able to hear me yelling them, would have found South Africa or Ghana carrying away the trophy for sure. I was, instantly, the expert. Both matches took me to the apogee of passion and left me breathless, disappointed, and elated. Who knew football could be so exhilarating?
And then the vuvuzela was hushed. The hoards headed home.
And South Africa was basking in the afterglow of having hosted a fantastic 2010 FIFA World Cup. I couldn’t help a smile and a sigh of affection for my fellow South Africans when I saw a sign painted on the back of a taxi, which read “Feelip is Gone!”