Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Catching Up

The infrastructure in South Africa is frankly pretty crappy, and stories abound. My own main frustration has been a lack of consistent internet, and once again I apologise. The following is dated, but still something I'd like to communicate.

It was a pretty subdued atmosphere in Total Sports Soccer Village the day after Australia's loss, partly deflation but also sheer exhaustion. It was a bloody long day.

This first photo is the fans gathering before departure in the morning. There's often a kick about going on, as in the foreground, and the only topic of conversation is soccer. Um... heaven really.
As I indicated the other day, the travel was always going to be arduous, with two busses and a plane each way, but the journey there at least was really fun, buoyed by the whole fan atmosphere thing. That first game between South Africa and Mexico was wonderful, as I've said, but in retrospect the only thing missing was the Socceroos and their fans.
Basically the journey was a party, despite quite a bit of chaos, including Jacob and I nearly missing the plane in Jo'burg (we had lunch and a couple hours free time at the airport for some reason). The party atmosphere waxed as the journey progressed, until the bus dropped us about 4 or 5 miles from the stadium in Durban, when it really started.

There was a confluence of fans on that walk - German and Australian (and sundry), and it was effing brilliant. We stirred the Germans as best we could. "We must respect our opponents; so don't mention the holocaust thing!!!" They were good humoured enough, but the convict comeback was a bit lame.

But I want to talk a bit about us Australian fans. In a sense I think we are as undeveloped as a soccer nation off the field as on it. I've talked before about the need to sing, and we did, in the final march, put up a prett damn fine rendition of Walzing Matilda, but really, we're pretty short of material. When we got on the plane someone got the, "Aussie, Aussie, Aussie, Oi, Oi, Oi!" going, to which the much smaller number of Germans replied with their national anthem (which unlike ours has a good melody and is really quite moving). I felt we were upstaged.

It occurs to me that this is a bit of a fan parallel to our deficiencies on the field. "Oi, Oi" and "Ole, Ole, Ole" seem to be desperation tactics, for want of a well developed tradition of play, parallel to the physicality and long-balls on the field. We just have so far to go.

Anyway, with the internet up I wanted to post something now, but Ivory Coast is now playing Portugal, so I must go watch. Hopefully I will be back soon and frequently!



Blogger dawn said...

So no-one taking up your suggestion of a revised "Throw Your Arms Around Me"? Waltzing Matilda is great, but wish we had something a bit more stirring. Love your blog, hope the internet issues are sorted. (And delighted to hear that your mum is a soccer convert! as per MK's comment)

June 16, 2010 8:49 am  

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