The first match of the semi-finals had Dutch fans on tenterhooks as their team took on formidable Brazil, relying on its pluck and history of victories over the team, which number six out of nine, to push it through.
The 'orange' victory of 2:1 sent supporters into a frenzy as trepidation turned into jubilation, particularly as the Dutch performance during the first half of the game had seemed lacklustre.
Ghana’s clash against Uruguay at Soccer City at 20:30 took on even more emotional overtones given that its team, the Black Stars, were representing an entire continent’s hopes.
Executive Mayor of Cape Town, Dan Plato, encouraged Capetonians to stand behind Ghana and support them as Africa’s own. “I will be fully behind BaGhana BaGhana tonight and blowing my vuvuzela,” he said before the match. “I encourage all Capetonians to come to the City’s FIFA Fan Fest™ and fan jols tonight in great numbers to support the Black Stars."
Despite being buoyed by a support base that includes President Zuma and Madiba, the Ghanians went into the clash knowing that the match was going to be tough – they bore the pressure of being Africa’s last team standing, after Bafana Bafana, Cameroon, Algeria, Ivory Coast and Nigeria were knocked out in the first round. Their performance in tonight's match might not have given them a victory, but it will certainly go down in the history books as an outstanding - and a brave - one.
The semi-final match on Tuesday 6 July at Cape Town Stadium will be between the Netherlands and Uruguay.FIFA Fan Fest
Yellow and orange dominated Cape Town's FIFA Fan fest on the Grand Parade earlier today as hundreds of Dutch and Brazilian supporters came to watch the first of the quarter final clashes at 16:00.
The vibe was festive as the fans - mostly locals who had ‘adopted’ other national teams following Bafana Bafana’s exit from the tournament - downed beers and competed for outrageous costumes in the warm sunshine.
Charne Jansen and Gill Ishtaq (pictured right) said they were supporting Brazil because they liked the culture and the Brazilian style of football. "I have also worked a lot with the Brazilian community in Cape Town and I love them," said Gill.
Nearby, veteran Holland fan Koos Vermeulen (pictured right) stood alone with beer and Vuvuzela in hand. "My friends couldn't get away from work," he said. Asked why he was backing Holland, he said: "Holland is the land of my forefathers, and I will always support them, even though I am South African."
Also enjoying the festive atmosphere and the build-up to the big game were Leigh-Anne Watts of Cape Town and her friend Mara Van Bolhuis (pictured below left), who hails from the Netherlands. The two have stayed in Cape Town for the duration of the tournament. "We feel safer here than anywhere else," said Leigh-Anne. Both admitted to being avid football fanatics - "in fact we both play soccer."
After the Dutch victory, fans celebrated to the music of Carambola, a group of local artists from different musical backgrounds led by Cuban artist Minel. Attendance began to rise as the working day ended, and Ghanian clad supporters began to fill the venue. After the nailbiting Uruguan victory, thousands of their supporters danced the night away to the sounds of The Nomad.
According to current forecasts, the balmy weather is set to continue in Cape Town over the weekend, which augurs well for tomorrow’s clash between Germany and Argentina at Cape Town Stadium.
Tomorrow at the fan fest: Catch one of South Africa’s best known Afro-fusion bands, Freshlyground after the Argentina vs Germany clash at 16:00. Capacity crowds are expected, so come early.
Freshlyground are best known for performing this year’s FIFA World Cup official anthem, the Waka Waka (‘This time for Africa’) with Columbian songbird Shakira. The song, which was performed at the pre-tournament kick off concert in Soweto and beamed to billions of viewers all over the world, will be performed again at the final on 11 July. Freshlyground's performance will be followed by multi dimensional group FLOW at 19:15, after which the match between Paraguay and Spain will be screened live from Ellis Park Stadium in Johannesburg. DJ Nicodemus will bring the evening to a close at 23:00.
The Cape Town FIFA Fan Fest will be closed on Sunday, 4 July and Monday, 5 July as no matches will be played on either of these days. It will again open on Tuesday, 6 July.Fan jols
The lag in attendance at the City’s four fan jols after Bafana Bafana’s exit from the tournament is in definite reversal as the action hots up due to the quarter finals. Crowds that have already been to the jols are by now familiar with the South African flavoured atmosphere, and used today as the perfect opportunity to flock to the jols and soak it in. “People have realised that this is a once in a lifetime opportunity to experience the World Cup, and are using it,” says Sue Baguley, owner of ZA Fanzone, the events organising company appointed by the City to manage the jols. “We urge more people to come as the tournament draws to a close.”
Cape Town match days are more popular at the fan jols, and fans are urged to come early.OR Tambo Fan Jol
The City’s most popular fan jol saw a sizeable crowd gather to watch today’s football action, hip hop group Jitsvinger and the Brothers Streep, a Performing Arts Network of South Africa (PANSA) emerging act. Crowds only started gathering after 13:00, as most people have not realised that like all of the City's Fan Jols (excluding the FIFA Fan Fest), doors open at 11:00. Many more came after work to support Ghana.
Tomorrow: Emerging PANSA artists Nomfusi and the Lucky Charms, and Fancy.Bellville Velodrome Fan Jol
Credited as the best managed venue in the country by Bellville police Colonel Pieter Laubscher, the Bellville Fan Jol is offering access to unaccompanied children who are ten years and older. "This is due to the popularity of the jol among young people living close by" explains Zaidy Motaleb, ZA FanZone employee.
With an entertainment programme that has been tailored to suit al ages and tastes, it's easy to see why. The fact that there are just six other games to go before the grand final at 20.30 on Sunday 11th July 2010, is also fuelling numbers. "This is the most exciting part of the tournament, and with exciting live stage acts before and after each game including some of the best DJs, comedian Kurt Schoonraad, Karen Zoid, Jonathan Rubain, The Plastics, Claire Phillips and a variety of food stalls selling Cape-style food, you'd better get there early" says Zaidy.
"Extra security measures have been put in place to ensure that everyone is able to enjoy these events in a safe and family-friendly environment" she finishes.
Tomorrow: South African Music Association (SAMA) award winner Afrikaans rock singer Karen Zoid will be the main feature in Saturday's entertainment line-up, which also includes PANSA emerging artists N2, Phillip de Villiers, the Boereorkes and Show Time Bros.
The Bellville Veldrome Fan Jol will be open from 11:00-23:00 on Saturday 3, Tuesday 6, Wednesday 7 and Sunday 11 July.Swartklip Fan Jol
The City’s second most popular fan jol after Oliver Tambo, Swartklip Fan Jol was brimming with fans this evening. People began arriving from 13:00, in time to catch the Gugulethu Tenors, the four self taught classical vocalists who have performed opera’s greatest songs for superstars such as Oprah Winfrey, Chris Rock and Mariah Carey.
Previously known as the Three Young Tenors (‘Fez Tenors’), these inspirational young men, most of whom hail from single parent homes in Gugulethu, one of Cape Town’s poorest townships, gave a goose bump inducing performance that sent the audience into a frenzy. They were followed by local artist Monox.
Tomorrow: Melanie Denton and Mijikisile are scheduled for tomorrow. Vygieskraal Fan Jol
The allure of headline act Blackcurrent proved too much for locals to resist at Vygieskraal Fan Jol this afternoon, and many of them used the opportunity to relax after a long week while taking in one of Cape Town's best performers. Like South Africans everywhere, there was also a large showing of support for Ghana, and most people came clad in the team's colours.
Tomorrow: Catch headline act Pavement and Mtika. Elsewhere in Cape Town
The most popular hangout in Cape Town for Brazilian fans has been Casa Little Brazil, situated at the Sea Point Civic Centre.
The venue was set up to welcome the nearly 6 000 soccer fans who have based themselves in Cape Town for the World Cup, with the Brazilian embassy and local authorities involved in the project. The venue also has live internet streaming for web surfers.
Casa Little Brazil offers an authentic Brazilian experience, from sea sand at the entrance to samba music, carnival dancers, capoeira, caipirinhas, coxinhas, pasteis.... and all things Brazilian. It is open to everyone.
Games are shown on a giant screen, and the venue is normally booked out when Brazil is playing, as it was earlier today.
Among the Brazilian fans was Roberta Martins (pictured right), a French citizen who lives in Brazil. "I am here for the football; it is wonderful," she said.
Another group of Brazilians told the Final Whistle team how they had come to Cape Town to study English, and had timed their course to coincide with the 2010 FIFA World Cup™.
"We have been here a month now and are learning English, but also watching a lot of football," said Carlos. "I have been to other places to watch games too, but I really like Cape Town, it is so beautiful here."
His friend Claeda agreed, saying that the weather in Cape Town reminded her of Anápolis, but the city also reminded her of Rio de Janeiro.
"Of course, we have the carnival there, and when we have the World Cup™ in 2014, it is going to be one big carnival!"
When asked what they thought about the vuvuzela, two of them produced their own – in Brazilian colours - and blew on them. "I think the vuvuzela is wonderful, we are definitely going to have it for our World Cup™," said Eduardo.
The group of friends were hoping the result would mean that Brazil would play the semi-final at Cape Town Stadium, against either Uruguay or Ghana. "Then we will do everything we can to be there to watch it," said Zenia.
There were also lots of South Africans supporting Brazil at the venue. "Brazil is our team, it always has been," said Candice Veckranges (pictured right, with her family). "They play spectacular soccer... and of course, there's Kaka," she giggled.
With football giants Germany, Spain, Paraguay, Argentina and the Netherlands, there are plenty of teams for South Africans to support. The time is now!