Carnival mood at Ellis Park

2010-06-12 17:49
Johannesburg - Ticketless Argentinean supporters staged a drum beating carnival outside Ellis Park in Johannesburg Saturday afternoon.

"It is frustrating not being able to be inside, but we want Diego (Maradona) to know that we are here for them," said Juan Estarez.

"I believe Argentina will win today," he added.

The group of almost 50 Argentinean supporters saying: "Let's go Argentina," were twirling umbrellas and beating drums.

They held up large banners, "With Diego all the way to the World Cup in South Africa," one banner translated from Spanish read.

Tickets too expensive

Many of the group had flown in from Buenos Aires and had not been able to buy tickets.

"We tried but the tickets were too expensive, the cheaper tickets were finished," one man said.

A short distance away a group of about 10 Nigerian supporters held their own musical festival.

The mood outside the stadium was jovial.

Police had to move both groups back and asked that they beat their drums outside the strict security zone.

Desperate scalpers sold tickets for R500 each. "I need four" one Argentinean in a number 10 Maradona jersey was heard saying.

Earlier, a group of Nigerians were up in arms outside the stadium after not being allowed to take their green-painted pet chickens into the stadium.

"This is ridiculous," John Okoro said. "We were allowed to take our chickens in 1998 (World Cup), but these people wont let us," he complained.

Symbolic chicken

Okoro was among a group of Nigerians dressed in traditional green robes attending Day 2 of the FIFA World Cup tournament where Nigeria was due to take on Argentina.

A man who identified himself as Prophet Moses predicted that Nigeria would beat Argentina 3-0.

He was furious that the chickens - which had their claws bound together by black tape - were not allowed into the stadium.

"Viva our symbols of Africa," he shouted.

When asked what would become of the chickens he said: "No I will never eat this creature, this is my pet. I'm giving it to my friend to take it to his flat in Yeoville."

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