Flags fly high as city marks 100 days to soccer tournament

Although Pretoria is 650km from the 100-day countdown festivities in Durban, World Cup fever has affected the city too. 

Yesterday morning motorists responded to a radio call to hoot in support of the World Cup while schools, shopping centres and offices also marked the date. 

At Menlyn Park Shopping Centre, flags representing the 32 countries participating in the World Cup – including a giant South African flag – have been hoisted and yesterday police officers from Garsfontein and Brooklyn police stations were on hand to sing the national anthem. 

Godfrey Ndlovu, an onlooker and Bafana Bafana supporter, said: “The World Cup is a good opportunity to meet people from other countries. I am very excited and very proud that South Africa are the hosts. I hope (Bafana coach Carlos Alberto) Parreira can take us to the semi-finals at least.” 

Another onlooker, Gido Koegelenberg, was also excited. “I think it’s awesome. I’ve bought tickets for a match at Soccer City and I can’t wait.” 

Police officers also got behind the national team. “We have to be positive for our team. I think we have a good chance of doing well,” said Vincent Thlako. His colleagues, Abednego Baloi and Athenkosi Jali, added: “As a country, let’s be proud of our guys. We know they can do it with our support.”  Captain Colette Weilbach of the Brooklyn SAPS was focused on security. “Menlyn Park is going to be part of the World Cup and we will make sure that it is safe with high police visibility,” she said. “All our officers are trained and ready.” 

Pupils at Lebelo Primary School in Hammanskraal got into the spirit of the day with gumboot dances and vuvuzelas.  At Robert Hicks Primary School, pupils wearing their favourite soccer shirts, animatedly discussed what they expected from the World Cup. 

At noon, all the pupils and teachers sang the national anthem and released 100 balloons.  SA National Parks joined in the fun by hosting soccer matches between senior managers and junior staff members.

Source: www.pretorianews.co.za, 20100303

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