I had been talking about this trip for almost a year and before I knew it I was on the plane to one of the most exciting World Cups I think I will ever experience. This time it’s for Africa. The spot light was on Ghana and everyone was hoping, praying, dreaming that this time an African team would make it at least to the semi finals.
July 2nd 2010, Ghana vs. Uruguay. I am not exactly a football expert nor even an amateur, but this has to be one of the best atmosphere’s I have ever experienced in a stadium. Practically everyone I knew asked me to get them a vuvuzela. I really had no idea what all the fuss was all about. From the second I caught sight of Soccer City in Joburg all I could see, hear and feel were vuvuzelas. A loud constant horn coming from these plastic instruments in all sizes and colours decorated with every single African flag. I felt like I had a vuvuzela in my stomach and my whole body was pounding with this horn sound!
This was not a game just about Ghana vs. Uruguay. This was a game representing every single African nation. A scan across the stadium and every flag, every face painted, every vuvuzela was an African one. Ok there were about 50 Uruguayans..but clearly the minority amongst 90,000 fans! This was the first time I ever felt that a continent was so united, through every pass, through every miss and through ever chance. This was Africa’s chance.
Just before half time Ghana scored. After numerous tries they did it! And that was the most amazing feeling. The happiness across everyone’s face was incredible. I had horns blowing in all directions and within seconds there were African dancers dancing to Waka Waka. Ghana left the first half in a very positive light, a sense of relief and strong optimism before the second half.
When Uruguay scored after half time, the stadium came to a holt. A horrible shock and sudden silence filled the stadium. It was a vuvuzela stopper. After 30 minutes of extra time, Africa’s football destiny was in the hands of nerve wracking penalties. I was so scared I could barely watch the strikers. The supporters stood united; it felt like the whole stadium was holding hands in a round circle, hoping and praying for every Ghanaian striker. And when Ghana’s last striker missed it felt like the circle broke and the hearts, dreams and hopes of every African nation was shattered.
Leaving the stadium was so depressing. The vuvuzela horn was almost no where to be heard. However those few great spirited supporters still blew their horn to salute Ghana for their great effort and perseverance.