England fans hit city in their thousands
‘Completely safe SA absolutely fantastic’
IT WAS RED and white all the way in Cape Town as thousands of England fans hit the city for their fateful clash with Algeria in Green Point last night.
The V&A Waterfront could have been mistaken for a festival in England with dozens of fans singing and drinking beer out of plastic cups in front of Ferryman’s bar. Vuvuzelas doubled up as beer jugs and fans waved their shoes in the air as they chanted: “Take your shoes off for England” at the top of their voices.
A handful of green-andwhite clad Algerian fans joined in the festivities, but they were few and far between.
Grant Shirras, of Cornwall, said he was enjoying the atmosphere at the Waterfront. “This is amazing, the people are friendly and my experience has been great so far.” Shirras said he wanted to join in with the vuvuzela blowing, but British journalists took it off him when he blew it in their ears. “That was a bit naughty of me.”
Kieren Mistry, of Rugby, said he was enjoying the food. “I love the steak, the biltong and the bunny chows. I’ ll definitely try to make a bunny chow when I get back to Rugby.”
Tables disappeared under cans of lager and bottles of draught, while fans strolled around clutching beer mugs.
A police constable, Grove, who declined to give his first name, said there had been no incidents.
“It’s been very quiet, the people are just eating and drinking and singing.”
Fans could be heard chanting: “I am England till I die.”
Things were quieter in Long Street and Camps Bay. At the beach the closest thing to World Cup gees was an English fan who had cut his chest hair in the shape of the cross of St George, while others were sitting quietly in restaurants along the seafront.
At the Southern Sun Cullinan Hotel near the V&A Waterfront, hundreds of people gathered late yesterday for a festive bash as part of their Football Friday project.
Local musicians entertained the crowd with the latest in popular World Cup music as soccer fans in their team’s colours danced and enjoyed the food on offer.
The hotel will host the Foot- ball Friday Street Party every Friday until July 9.
Draped in their national flags, there were people from around the world – but most were Algerian and English fans preparing for last night’s match at the Cape Town Stadium.
Algerian fans were particularly excited. Abdi Farouk said he and his friends had come into the city from Stellenbosch and had enjoyed Cape Town.
Kada Bewchiha Djanel Eddine said South Africa tended to have a poor image in Algeria, but the World Cup had proven them wrong.
“It’s very nice and beautiful. The Algerian image of this country is bad, South Africa has a reputation for murder and aggression but when we came here it was different and nice.”
Maureen Payne, from London, agreed. “It’s been absolutely fantastic. I was worried about coming, about the security. But it’s been completely safe and it’s proven everybody at home wrong.”
Bafana supporter Siyanda Zindela said it didn’t matter so much how Bafana Bafana did in the tournament – the priority was that the World Cup was a success.
“The cheering must go on, whatever happens on Tuesday (when South Africa meets France in Bloemfontein). As long as South Africa stages a world class World Cup.”
Earlier at the Grand Parade Fan Fest hundreds of American soccer fans supported their team against Slovenia. Also known as Sam’s Army, they were dressed in full regalia with scarves, worn as capes Superman-style, and top hats.
When their team finally drew against Slovenia a small group of Americans broke out in song, singing: “You can stick your vuvuzelas up your a**e”.
Later a mix of English fans and local soccer fanatics who support English soccer teams such as Liverpool, Man United and Chelsea poured into the fan fest, turning the Parade into a sea of red and white, and cheering for their favourite English team members – especially Wayne Rooney, Peter Crouch and Steven Gerrard.
Some even donned their league gear which garnered retorts from the Brits that this was the World Cup, not the FA Cup Final.
RIGHT ROYAL TIME: Britain’s Princes William, left, and Harry at Cape Town Stadium watching the English team draw with Algeria last night.
HAT-TRICK: This trio of England supporters also sported South African colours.
GOOD CHEER: England supporters were in good spirits at the England vs Algeria match at Cape Town Stadium last night.
FABULOUS FAN: Algerian supporter René Joy Mullins in full flight at the Grand Parade Fan Fest.
GOING GREEN: A group of very excited Algerian supporters in the stands at Cape Town Stadium.
TRUE COLOURS: England supporter Simon Howard shows his colours at the Grand Parade Fan Fest.