South Africa: Reporting From the World Cup’s Opening Match


By Korena Di Roma, reporting from South Africa; Photograph by Kyle Vermeulen, World Vision  

Pack your earplugs if you’re headed to the World Cup. Before leaving Johannesburg, we had become used to the trumpeting of the ubiquitous vuvuzelas, and many of the local papers have addressed the issue of noise during matches, with visiting teams apparently in horror over the racket.


We picked up a couple of vuvuzelas ourselves, and it’s not as easy to produce the sound—which is like a low-pitched buzzing on TV—as you might think. But after a little practice, I got it down, so I’ll be contributing to the inhospitable atmosphere when South Africa takes on Mexico during the opening match in Johannesburg, the first World Cup match to be played on African soil.

The country is currently a sea of Bafana Bafana yellow and green, but as fans begin to arrive from all over the world, more colors and chaos will be added to the mix. We won our tickets through the FIFA lottery and received confirmation and pick-up instructions by mail. Tickets can be picked up at collection points around each city. In Durban we collected them at the Suncoast Casino. The ticket center was a little difficult to find in the large complex based on vague instructions from staff to “go to the right,” but once there the cashiers were efficient and friendly.


What you’ll need: your passport and ticket confirmations. Guests don’t need to be present and I was never asked to produce my payment card. I was collecting the tickets relatively early, and I’ve been told by a South African friend that at this point it would be smart to plan for time spent waiting in long lines.


In Nairobi World Cup coverage has been dominating the newspapers and broadcasts. I’ll be leaving for Johannesburg in a few hours to catch the opening match and will report back on the experience on the ground in South Africa. I hear it’s madness, and I can’t wait.

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