7 June 2010
World Cup frenzy was evident at Johannesburg’s OR Tambo International Airport on the weekend, with hordes of fans, football stars, international media teams and Grammy Award winning musician R Kelly arriving in South Africa for the 2010 Fifa World Cup.
Former World Cup stars, Holland’s Ruud Gullit and England’s Steve McManaman, arrived on Saturday shortly before England international Michael Dawson, who was mobbed by a media contingent outside international arrivals as he flew in to replace injured England captain Rio Ferdinand.
Over the last few days the teams who will be competing in the tournament have started to arrive, with stars such as Kaka, Messi and Rooney already having passed through the airport terminal.
But it is the rush of international fans that is really bringing the World Cup spirit to South Africa, as Africa’s biggest airport begins to welcome the expected influx of World Cup travellers.
‘I am happy South Africa was chosen’
Mexican brothers Juan and Junior Medrano and Juan’s wife Michelle were among those who arrived in the country over the weekend – sporting huge sombreros, of course!
“It’s been a dream of ours to attend the Fifa World Cup, and we’re so happy to be in South Africa and can’t wait for the tournament to start,” said Junior Medrano, a newly qualified occupational therapist. “I’m so excited to be here – celebrating with the world. In this time we all need things to bring people together.
“I am happy South Africa was chosen to host the Fifa World Cup,” Medrano said. “Over the next few weeks Africa’s first Fifa World Cup will be the catalyst to unite the world. It’s a symbol of hope and new beginnings for all of us.”
‘It’s amazing to be here’
Argentina’s Vera brothers, Emilio and Jose, from Resis Dencia near the Paraguayan border, also arrived on Saturday, with plane tickets but no clue as to where they would be staying; they were assisted by airport staff with a list of B&B and hotel establishments as they arrived.
“It’s amazing to be here,” said Jose Vera. “I was at the 2006 World Cup in Germany and I wanted to repeat the experience. It’s my favourite holiday, and I am sure Africa will be a great host and showcase all its best attributes to the world.
“Every World Cup is better than the last, and I am sure this World Cup will be the best ever!”