14 April 2010
A number of prominent European communities within South Africa – in particular the Italian, Portuguese, Dutch, English and Greek communities – plan to give their teams a welcome that will make them feel right at home during the 2010 Fifa World Cup™.
Since the announcement of the base camps for the 32 teams taking part in the competition, fans of Italy, Portugal and the Netherlands are pleased that their national teams will be based in Gauteng province, which includes the host cities of Tshwane/Pretoria and Johannesburg.
Members of local Italian community – whose team will be practicing at Southdowns College in the Tshwane/Pretoria area – are ecstatic at the fact that their heroes will be based in the area.
“This is great news for Azzurri supporters, as we will be able to follow the team training sessions, and they will feel our support,” said Andrea Lazzari, a student at the University of Johannesburg. “The training ground is only half an hour’s drive from my house, so it will be my second home during the tournament. We are the current champions, and we can win it again in South Africa.”
Secretary Jessica Santorello is preparing to welcome her heroes by gathering friends and family to watch the Azzurri train. “I am planning to start a Facebook group to get all my supporter friends ready and update them on all the news,” Santorello said.
“I am so glad Cannavaro and the team will be at Southdowns again, it is a great place for them to train, and because of the Confederations Cup I know the place and I can show my friends how to get there.”
Another World Cup hopeful to be based in Gauteng province is Portugal, who will be training at Bekker High School in the Magaliesberg region, which boasts one of the most populous European communities in South Africa.
“Gauteng will be the perfect venue for the team because they will have thousands of football-crazy Portuguese fans supporting them, and the training sessions will be overflowing with flags and banners,” said airline ticket salesman Rodrigo Almagro. “We will make them feel like they are training at home in Portugal.”
It certainly does not come any bigger than the World Cup, and businessman Diego Parreira knows he will be the envy of many Portuguese people in June. “I am planning to follow Portugal all over South Africa when the tournament is on, and I am excited to see Portugal take on Brazil in Durban, that will be a real cracker,” Parreira said.
“I am pleased that they chose to stay in this area because I live between Johannesburg and Pretoria, so and it will take me about 20 minutes to get to their training pitch when they are preparing for matches. Those sessions will be packed with Portuguese supporters.”
The Netherlands will also be based in South Africa’s “City of Gold” during the 2010 event, and Dutch fans in Johannesburg will make the stay a special one for the Oranje, according to Jan and Ed Vorster, two brothers who moved to South Africa from Amsterdam when they were teenagers.
“From when they were the first European team to qualify, I was hoping that they would choose Johannesburg as the host city to stay in,” said Jan Vorster. “I cannot wait for the World Cup to begin so that I can support them with all my power. I have ordered a giant flag so that I can bring it to matches and training sessions where the public are able to attend.”
The younger of the two brothers, Ed Vorster is hoping to get a number of autographs for himself and his two children when the Dutch side holds open training sessions.
“I want to get the signatures of Wesley Sneijder especially and a few others as well,” Vorster said. “I will be very happy to get five or six of them. I have a few Dutch national team shirts that I will wear to watch them train, and hopefully I will get them signed.
“My children are small, but they understand that something special is happening, and I am sure that they will enjoy the World Cup, and hopefully we can finally win our first title.”