2010: a home match for every team

21 December 2009

As a country made up of diverse cultures and nationalities, South Africa is a vibrant and colourful mix and, with the 2010 Fifa World Cup™ only a few months away, this will become even more apparent as team colours from around the world are brought out for the 2010 party.

Portugal in South Africa

Carlos Rodrigues Pereira is a 24-year-old finance student and a second-generation Portuguese-South African, his grandfather having immigrated to South Africa with his mother in 1965.

“People like myself and a lot of my friends have all been born in South Africa, while our grandparents or parents immigrated here, so we all have strong Portuguese and South African roots,” says Pereira. “We will all support Portugal in the World Cup. It feels like my home team.”

Pereira believes the Portuguese team will receive a lot of attention during the World Cup. “People are going crazy already with the fact that the team has made it into the finals, so you can only imagine what it is going to be like when the tournament starts. I think people are going to see more Portuguese flags than any other nation, bar South Africa, during 2010.

“For the community here, it will be incredible for them to be able to support their team; if they come anywhere close to winning it will be huge.”

Cote d’Ivoire in South Africa

Etienne Gaba is an Ivorian-born restauranteur who has lived in South Africa for over 11 years. In the beginning of 2000, he opened his establishment in the central suburb of Yoeville in Johannesburg, and since then House Ivorian has become a meeting place for many Cote d’Ivoire nationals living in the city.

Gaba’s excitement for 2010 is tangible. “I was very, very happy; I was watching in the restaurant, with the rest of the Ivorian community, the day Ivory Coast qualified, and we had a big party.”

Gaba is looking forward to hosting some of his visiting countrymen in 2010. “The supporters will be here from Cote d’Ivoire; I think these people need to eat Ivorian food, so my hope is to get the right ingredients to create the right food for them particularly.

“I hope Didier Drogba will come to my restaurant; where else is he going to go?”

House Ivorian is getting ready to be one of the Elephants’ strongholds during the tournament. “For the World Cup we will have lots going on at the restaurant, showing people from Cote d’Ivoire a bit of home and showing other people what it is like to join the Ivorian community during the match and partying with us.”

Who would Gaba like to see playing the Elephants in 2010? “I would like Ivory Coast to play some big teams like Argentina, France or even Brazil, to show the world that Africa has got the players.”

Italy in South Africa

The Italian Club in Johannesburg was founded by Italian immigrants that wanted to have a place where the community could meet with their families and friends, offering a home away from home.

Helena Ricchiuti, events co-ordinator at the club, says that although there are no firm plans yet for the World Cup, there will definitely be a lot going on at the venue during the games. “If you are Italian and didn’t get a ticket to watch a game live, you can come here and enjoy it with us.

“We don’t just stick to our own culture,” explains Ricchiuti. “We all have friends of different nationalities, so it is nice to have them coming to support our team, and we will be supporting their teams.

“It’s like every country will be playing in their own home ground during 2010.”

Source: 2010 Fifa World Cup South Africa Organising Committee