Despite the plummeting mercury in Nelson Mandela Bay/Port Elizabeth last night, dedicated Portugal fans gathered en masse outside the hotel where the Portuguese team is staying ahead of today's match against Cote d’Ivoire.
Portuguese fans have travelled thousands of kilometers to get a glimpse of their favourite team, not to mention Portugal’s number one star, Cristiano Ronaldo.
For Jaydon Segura-Sanchez, 10, the movement of a curtain was enough to shout out, “I think I saw Ronaldo” mobilising everyone around him to chant “Ronaldo” and blow the vuvuzela.
“The players are up there taking pictures of us down here, thinking we are mad coming out in the freezing cold like this. Maybe we are mad – mad about them,” enthused Patricia Vieira, 25, who is on a road trip with her entire family, including her three month old baby, tailing the Portuguese team.
“We are like stalkers,” she joked. “We have to support our team. They represent our roots – so we have to give them moral support while they are in South Africa, to get them to the finals.”
Her father, Fernando, said they had done the 1200km trek from their home in Pretoria to reach Nelson Mandela Bay in time for the match – and a sneak preview of the players at pre-game training. “After going back to Pretoria we will drive down to Durban to watch them fight it out against Brazil. That is going to be an epic battle,” he said.
“Football mad” family, the Segura-Sanchezes, were also staring hopefully at the hotel room windows. “We are supporting Spain and Portgual over the World Cup and we are so lucky Portugal is playing here. It’s so different to see games live and local. There’s a special vibe about it,” said mom Ingrid Segura-Sanchez.
Portugal aficionado, Daniel da Silva, also from Pretoria, stood blowing his Portugal branded vuvuzela trying to get the players attention. “Seeing Portugal play Côte d’Ivoire tomorrow is going to be a once in a lifetime opportunity – who could resist?”