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June 10, 2010

The world’s football fraternity descends on Cape Town

puppets airport

Colourful puppets welcomed the world’s citizens. Photo by Ingrid Sinclair

Cape Town International Airport looked fabulous this morning as throngs of 2010 FIFA World Cup™ supporters descended on the Mother City. Coming from as far afield as Mexico, Nigeria, Greece, Argentina, Australia and England, soccer supporters were packed to the hilt with luggage but smiling and humming with excitement.

The city gave visitors a warm welcome and the Cape of Storms’ weather played along; hopefully this wind-still day with sunny skies is a first of many to come over the next 30 days.

For Paul Hinson and Chris Draper from England, priorities in Cape Town are clear-cut and they rattled off their list as if they’d rehearsed it many times: “Partying, shark cage diving, Table Mountain, Stellenbosch, the Cape Point … and in that order.” They are travelling independently but both staying at the V&A Waterfront. They’ll be watching the England-Uruguay clash tomorrow night at Cape Town Stadium, then it’s off to Port Elizabeth for the Slovenia vs England game on June 23.

Yannis Klokas was proudly representing Greece at the arrivals terminal. The nation’s beautiful blue and white flag was draped over his suitcase and he sported a blue and white scarf, too. He was waiting for a friend to arrive before they hop into a rental car and take on the Garden Route – as well as the Greece vs Korea Republic game in Port Elizabeth. That’s all before returning for Italy and Paraguay’s showdown at Cape Town Stadium on Monday night. See you there!

puppets tourists

African-inspired puppets welcome tourists

At the new transport plaza outside, giant puppets were performing traditional African songs and entertaining a growing crowd. The friendly puppets posed for photographs with tourists and definitely made any visitor’s arrival memorable, particularly for those new to Cape Town. Their songs rang out across the plaza, adding an awesome African atmosphere to the morning.

Newness to the city was not a problem for Hermien and Karl Craven, who are based in Lagos, Nigeria. Hermien is from Cape Town and Karl is from the UK, and the pair got married in Paarl last year. They visit Cape Town often and “enjoy it every time”. They’re going to see no less than 14 World Cup matches while they’re here!

A group of five Argentinians were waiting for their rental vehicle at the airport when we approached them to ask a few questions. Despite knowing very little English, they succeeded in conveying their excitement, as well as their lack of accommodation for the night. Luckily we could point them to our extensive accommodation guide. Good luck, guys!

england supporters

England supporters are out in full force

British supporters made up the bulk of the groups at the airport and their red and white paraphernalia made them hard to miss. Armed with scarves, flags and bucketloads of glee, it’s a sure bet that the streets of Cape Town will be filled with various renditions of Rule, Britannia tonight. They’re also very likely to pull through for the Cool Britannia parties, especially on June 18 after the England vs Algeria game, when the official England DJ Fatboy Slim will be behind the decks. Welcome to Cape Town, boys!

Walter Teele and Rodrigo Maldonado from Mexico were at the airport to welcome some of their countrymen. They’ve been in Cape Town for a week and are here as part of an exchange programme with the University of Stellenbosch; they’re supporting Mexico during the tournament but will only be leaving South Africa in December. So far, they’ve been to Tiger Tiger in Claremont (“Very nice people!” said Walter) and Rafiki’s in Tamboerskloof (“Great pizzas,” said Rodrigo).

fifa volunteers

2010 FIFA World Cup™ volunteers Hlanganani Nkuna, Angus Hartley and Pamela Jones

A group of South African boys added to the soccer spirit by playing some football near the airport’s food court. They passed the ball to each other and did some tricks – until they spotted our photographer and suddenly came down with a bout of shyness. 

2010 FIFA World Cup™ volunteers Hlanganani Nkuna, Angus Hartley and Pamela Jones looked radiant in their bright green uniforms as they waited for FIFA representatives. “We’re driving the big guys around,” said Angus.

The new public-transport plaza is very easy to reach from the arrivals area and even easier to use – it’s a simple matter of hopping on and being taken to the heart of Cape Town. We are thrilled to be hosting you!

Click here to check out more pictures from this morning at the airport.

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