Johannesburg - Soccer World Cup fever returned to South Africa on Friday with a sell-out 45 000 crowd watching a season-opening Premiership double-header at Cape Town Stadium.
A racially mixed crowd had fun and the plastic vuvuzela horns blared as Orlando Pirates overcame promoted Vasco da Gama 2-1 before Ajax Cape Town triumphed 2-0 against Bloemfontein Celtic.
Football officials are desperate to build on the success of the World Cup when South Africa silenced doubters by staged an almost hitch-free tournament.
Among priorities is convincing white, mixed race and Asian-origin football fans who attended the World Cup in droves to watch domestic football which they traditionally shun in favour of televised English and Spanish games.
Staging back-to-back fixtures at a stadium where Portugal scored seven goals against North Korea, England hit rock bottom when held goalless by Algeria and Netherlands reached the World Cup final proved a crowd-pulling masterstroke.
Vasco might have drawn a 10 000 crowd given the national popularity of 1995 African champions Pirates had the match been held separately while Ajax would have been lucky to attract half that figure for a clash with Celtic.
Making the Cape Town Stadium attendance even more impressive was that Western Province were at home to Free State Cheetahs a few kilometres away in a Currie Cup rugby union fixture.
Province have been the envy of Cape Town football clubs with their ability to woo large crowds composed mainly of whites and mixed race spectators to Test venue Newlands.
Former South Africa striker Sibusiso Zuma headed Vasco in front on 22 minutes only for defender Lucky Lekgwathi to equalise with a bicycle kick before half-time and Zambian Isaac Chansa struck the second-half winner.
"Vasco did well, fighting for every ball and every metre," said Pirates coach and former Dutch star Ruud Krol.
"We were guilty of ball watching for the Zuma goal and I wanted the game played at a higher tempo."
The second match lacked the same excitement and intensity with some fans leaving during the second half while Ajax took 91 minutes to seal victory through a penalty converted by defender Brett Evans.
Thulani Serero put the Cape Town club ahead on 34 minutes by firing a weak headed clearance past Cameroon-born goalkeeper Patrick Tignyemb and Celtic came closest to levelling when a Moses Spandeel volley rattled the crossbar.