Samba fever hits Ellis Park
Africa met South America on Sunday at the final of the FIFA Confederations Cup 2009, with local fans rallying behind five-time FIFA World Cup™-winners Brazil during their 3-2 comeback success over the United States at Ellis Park.
And despite Bafana Bafana's narrow loss to Spain in the play-off for third place earlier in the day, a win for Dunga's boys in the final did provide a measure of consolation.
"The US played well but they were totally outclassed by Brazil," said Sizwe Ndaba, one of the 52,291 fans, many of whom were waving Brazilian and South African flags, who watched the 2005 champions defend their title. "I can't wait to see them in 2010."
"Bafana Bafana may not have reached the final, but I am here for Brazil. I like their football," said James Chungu who travelled from Nelspruit, some 330 kilometres from Johannesburg. "Being here is all about celebrating the game of football. The Samba boys were the best team in this tournament."
"This could have been a great moment if Bafana was playing here tonight, but what can we say, they need to polish their skills ahead of the World Cup next year," added the secondary-school teacher, one of the thousands of fans with blue-and-yellow painted faces and blowing enthusiastically on vuvuzelas.
Arnold Nkosi, for his part, said he had saved for two months to buy a ticket for the final, played in a wintry 10 degrees celsius: "I knew that Brazil was going to be in the final. I have supported Brazil since I was a kid, this is a fantastic opportunity to see them do their thing."
"I have watched all the games on TV, but this one was worth spending all my savings on it. I couldn't afford to go and see them in other cities," said 18-year-old Nkosi, who is currently unemployed.
His sentiments were also shared by another Brazil supporter Antonio Moses who, like Canarinha fans across the globe, was breathing a sigh of relief after his side had been pushed all the way by the Stars and Stripes: "I'm overjoyed. What a game."