The call has sounded
With a storm of colour and sound, South Africans descended on Ellis Park for the opening game of the FIFA Confederations Cup 2009 between Bafana Bafana and Iraq.
Just after 12h00 the first fans rounded the street corners of Johannesburg in their approach to Ellis Park. A solid mass of green and gold, with flags flying and the crying of numerous vuvuzela's, instantly vibrant lines of fans formed, ready to enter the stadium.
Kurt Overton was the first fan through the turnstiles, and after the police had checked his ticket and padded him down, staring up at the stadium he said: "I'm so excited for today; this is my first football game ever."
One young man, so overcome with emotion fell to his knees when he crossed through the gate and kissed the ground, before looking into the sky and crossing himself.
Solly Mphahlele, from Tembisa (a township in Eastern Johannesburg), arrived in his full fan regalia - a mixture of Bafana Bafana colours and his favourite local side, Orlando Pirates. "These are my lucky clothes," he laughed. "I bought my ticket two months ago. As the biggest soccer fan I could not miss it. I'll be at all the games, going all the way with my team, Bafana Bafana."
"I'm so happy to be here," said Margaret Mahlangu. "It means so much for South Africa to have the Confed Cup here." When asked about her team and how she was feeling about the game, Margaret replied, "We'll win this 3 - 1, I'm sure of it. Bafana are the best team. They are my team."
Once through the gates there are tournament sponsor exhibitions, offering the opportunity for ticket holders to partake in the FIFA Confederations Cup activities. Fans are kicking for goal to win a car, dancing live online, playing football with remote control cars and purchasing official merchandise to commemorate the occasion.
In the blend of people, a group of young football players, paused before entering the stands, "It's so nice to be here, it's going to be so much better watching all this live, more entertaining," said Khathu Mokwebo.
Sabata Makoma, a 15 year old from Soweto, said: "This is the first time I'm seeing Steven Pienaar and Bafana with my own eyes, I can't wait."
At that the group took off to grab their seats, and get ready to watch South Africa take on Iraq in the opener of the FIFA Confederations Cup 2009.