The event that we have all been waiting for since the announcement in 2005 is finally here … and despite some serious traffic and transport hitches, it all went well on the FIRST big day. Lots of hoarse voices amongst Safricans today as well as much babbelaas (See blog post dated 31st May on SA slang) !
Traffic issues For those who made their way to the stadium early (like my son who was so excited he barely slept for the 2 nights beforehand), everything went very smoothly – door-to-door journeys of about an hour. PARK AND RIDE Some guests left cars at the Wits Park and Ride and took a bus from there to the stadium. Remember that for this option you need to buy tickets beforehand Computicket www.ticketbreak.co.zo/parkride. Also you need to choose in advance which Park and Ride you will be using – for guests at Liz at Lancaster it would be either Wits Campus or Constitutional Hill. METRORAIL Other guests parked their cars at Park Station and took the Metrorail (free for those with match tickets). Feedback is that the train was efficient, clean, spacious, there was a great atmosphere and camaraderie, with the presence of Metro police in each carriage and drop–off close to the stadium. Definitely a way to go to both Ellis Park and Soccer City. In both cases the return trip was longer about 2 hours which is understandable given that the 94,000 seater stadium is emptying all at once. All said that crowd control and directing of fans both outside and inside the stadium was excellent.
I would not recommend using DROP AND RIDE which operate from 2 points: the Westgate traffic hub in Central Johannesburg and Sandton. Firstly both of these hubs are near fan parks (Innis Free at Sandton and Mary Fitzgerald Square near Westgate) so there is extra traffic build up with all the traffic coming in to the fan parks. Yesterday this caused major gridlocking particularly in Sandton. In addition from Sandton you are transported to the Westgate hub ie it is much more efficient to go directly to Westgate and cut out one leg of the journey.
Feel good moments
* The ‘Arch’ [Archbishop Desmond Tutu boogeying away in the VIP stands with his wide grin and sheer infectious delight
* Bafana bafana breaking into song in the tunnel as the prepared to enter the field
* The playful camaraderie between Bafana Bafana fans and Mexican fans in buses and railway carriages on the way to and from the stadium
For some great photos of the opening ceremony see http://www.sport24.co.za/Galleries/Image/Soccer/2010%20World%20Cup/Opening%20ceremony
Tragic events We send Madiba and his family our deepest sympathies on the death of Zenani