Sellecca Lang is a journalist at the Atlantic Sun in Cape Town, and wrote about her experiences in attending the soccer matches at the Cape Town Stadium a week ago in this week’s issue of the free local newspaper, in a story entitled “A tourist in my own town for the fourth trial”.  Her experiences reflect what Cape Town soccer fans, who were lucky enough to obtain tickets, can expect when the world’s largest sporting event is hosted from 11 June – 11 July.  

Sellecca and her group of 14 friends left their cars at GrandWest casino, one of 22 park-and-ride facilities designated for the World Cup in Cape Town.   Three of her friends were late, and therefore they missed the train to the city center.   It took another one and a half hours for the next train to arrive, which meant that she and her party missed the opening ceremony, during which the Nigerian national anthem would not play (it had to be sung by one of the players, to save the situation).

The party arrived at the stadium with the shuttle service between the station and the stadium, and she writes that she spotted two grammatical errors in the notice in the shuttle.  

Settled in at the stadium, she writes that the noise of the vuvuzelas was tolerable, but what was not was the buzzing sound of the speakers, which she heard for most of the event, describing it as “scratchy-buzzing backtrack”, and vowing to bring ear-muffs to the World Cup matches to block out the irritating sound.

At the break between the two matches the children in Sellecca’s party wanted to have something to eat at the nearby McDonald’s.  When they wanted to return to the Stadium, they were not allowed back in, as there is no pass.  “Once you are out, you are out”, she was told.   FIFA is very strict about security, and this is one of their rules at the World Cup stadiums.    Sellecca suggests that they put up a sign to this effect.  Signs are in place to announce that prams, food and drink may not be brought into the stadium, but the fact that pass-outs are not available is not mentioned during the security search and the swiping of the ticket.   To get back into the stadium Sellicca had to get spare tickets which her friends had, and to buy new additional tickets (at full price!), even though there was only another half an hour playing time left. 

In Sellecca’s party her brother’s packet of mint bubblegum and her boyfriend’s favourite (empty) water bottle had to be donated to the bin, whilst a friend’s bottle of water was not destroyed as it was covered by a jersey.   Sellecca relates a story of a group of orphans that was taken to one of the previous events, and they had to have their lunchboxes destroyed because they did not know the food and drink rule.   Umbrellas and cameras with detachable lenses may also not be taken inside the Stadium.

Sellecca’s journey back to the park-and-ride site was uneventful, the toilet queuing took 3 minutes, the spectators were well-behaved, the food prices were reasonable, paying R25 for a wrap, and “the stadium really looks like something out of this world”, she concluded.

Chris von Ulmenstein, Whale Cottage Portfolio: www.whalecottage.com