Eng­land fans hit city in their thou­sands

‘Com­pletely safe SA ab­so­lutely fan­tas­tic’

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - NEWS - WEEK­END AR­GUS RE­PORTERS

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.

PIC­TURE: HENK KRUGER

RIGHT ROYAL TIME: Bri­tain’s Princes Wil­liam, left, and Harry at Cape Town Sta­dium watch­ing the English team draw with Al­ge­ria last night.

PIC­TURE: BRENTON GEACH

HAT-TRICK: This trio of Eng­land sup­port­ers also sported South African colours.

PIC­TURE: BRENTON GEACH

GOOD CHEER: Eng­land sup­port­ers were in good spir­its at the Eng­land vs Al­ge­ria match at Cape Town Sta­dium last night.

PIC­TURE: GARETH SMIT

FAB­U­LOUS FAN: Al­ge­rian sup­porter René Joy Mullins in full flight at the Grand Pa­rade Fan Fest.

PIC­TURE: BRENTON GEACH

GO­ING GREEN: A group of very ex­cited Al­ge­rian sup­port­ers in the stands at Cape Town Sta­dium.

PIC­TURE: GARETH SMIT

TRUE COLOURS: Eng­land sup­porter Simon Howard shows his colours at the Grand Pa­rade Fan Fest.

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