National News

Thokoza fans leave for stadium

2010-06-11 13:45

Johannesburg - Fans at the Thokoza Park bus station, east of Johannesburg, left for Soccer City stadium just before lunch time on Friday after waiting impatiently for the buses to fill up.

"What they are doing is uncalled for! I was supposed to be at the stadium by now and they are making me late," said a FIFA volunteer wearing a bright lime green pullover for volunteers and an accreditation tag.

Officials at the bus station were ordered not to drive out with "half-full buses", said a man who did not want to be named.

"You can't be sitting with a laptop in your warm office and make such orders because we are the ones who have to deal with the fans," said the official shortly before noon.

Some fans were however not deterred by the delayed buses as they chatted happily with friends and family members, blowing their vuvuzelas and waving at passing motorists.

At the park across the street, fans who did not have tickets for the Bafana/Mexico game were setting up their camp-chairs and picnic baskets in preparation for the 16:00 game. The game would be broadcast on a big TV screen set up at the park.

"We are expecting a win from Bafana today because that will boost the confidence of fans," said Sabelo Malunga, 20.

Once the bus engine started at 12:05, excited fans in colourful Bafana colours hopped in, taking pictures of each other and discussing their expectations for the game.

Bus driver Lebogang Malema made his way from Chris Hani Road in Rockville and turned into the Klipspruit Valley Road en route to Orlando, where more fans waited in anticipation.

At the stadium

Excited, colourfully dressed fans made their way into the stadium, flying their South African and Mexican flags, and blowing their vuvuzelas.

South Africans of all hues and age groups could be seen disembarking from buses that had collected them from various parts of Johannesburg while hawkers were hard at work trying to sell flags, vuvuzelas and soccer themed merchandise.

Mexicans in their sombreros walked alongside South African supporters, making their way towards the calabash shortly before 13:00 ahead of the 16:00 kick-off.

SA National Defence Force members and metro police officers mounted on horseback monitored the drop off zones.

Meanwhile, in Rockville, Soweto, Bus Rapid Transit system helper Thomas Nevhulaudzi said: "People look very great wearing all our national colours. The mood is very high and we are enjoying it here in Soweto."

He was among the people taking tickets and ushering people on to the six buses ferrying fans to Soccer City.

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