Adams family's arresting adventure
Picture the scene: it's 10am yesterday in the dining hall of a chic Johannesburg hotel. Executives are discussing business over croissants and espresso; models are anticipating a fashion convention over fresh fruit and sparkling water; tourists are tucking into cooked breakfasts as they finalise their plans for the day.
Their attention is, nevertheless, magnetised by an enchanting quintet of fellow guests. In sight and sound, the Adams family stand out from the crowd. For Peter and Sharon, along with their three sons, Allan, Christian and Tyler, are draped in the piquant green-and-gold jerseys of South Africa, and have taken a break from eating to perform a rendition of the celebrated, infectious Shosholoza folk song, which has been adopted as the prevalent anthem of Bafana Bafana.
This was an unprecedented performance. It was, however, an unprecedented day; one on which, after years of waiting, fantasising and preparing, South Africa began its hosting of the prestigious FIFA Confederations Cup. Bafana Bafana were just six hours away from kicking off the tournament.
"We'll be singing this all day," said Sharon, before her husband Peter, a former goalkeeper for South African Premiership side Bloemfontein Celtic, expressed his excitement: "I've waited all my life for this day. We've driven for four hours to be here and it's just amazing to be part of this atmosphere, to have the Confederations Cup here in South Africa."
Conversation naturally turned to the tournament's curtain-raiser. "I'm very excited for the match," enthused seven-year-old Tyler. "I think South Africa will win." Allan interrupted his brother. "I don't think we'll win - I know we'll win!" declared the 18-year-old, an aspiring goalkeeper whose dream is to play for Liverpool. "We have Teko Modise."
With that, the Adams family sung one last verse of the Shosholoza, before ascending up to their rooms, pocketing their vuvuzelas (air horns), South African flags and a camera, and heading to Ellis Park Stadium.
"The atmosphere on the way to the game was incredible," said Peter afterwards. "Outside the stadium, the Bafana supporters were singing, dancing. I can't describe it. Everyone was so excited."
This excitement turned to displeasure upon the final whistle, which brought the curtain down on a goalless opener to the FIFA Confederations Cup. It did not, however, drain the Adams family's euphoria.
"It was a disappointing result but we still had a great day," reflected Peter. "We'll always remember this and be able to say we were a part of the day when world football came to South Africa. The atmosphere, the organisation... everything was perfect. It's been a wonderful day even if it did finish 0-0."
That match may have ended, but this year's FIFA Confederations Cup - and the Adams' engrossment in it - has only just begun. "Tomorrow we're going to Bloemfontein to see Brazil take on Egypt," said Allan, enthusiastically, yesterday evening. "I love Brazil," explained Christian, nine. "I can't wait to see them."
With that, the Adams family headed off to bed. It had been a long day but one that they would embrace for eternity. It was time to get some rest - and to dream about part two of their thrilling FIFA Confederations Cup adventure.