Fan Fest project kicks off in style

Seven world cities too to be part of the programme for next years tournament, says FIFA

Fan Fest project kicks off in style


 Football supporters carry blown up characters as they get ready for the Fan Fest event in Cape Town on Friday. AFP

Following the resounding success of the idea at the 2006 World Cup in Germany, the nine host cities in South Africa have decided to replicate the idea, starting with a star-studded event in Cape Town that will take in the World Cup draw in the city later Friday.

An estimated 10,000 revellers had already gathered in streaming sunshine on Long Street for the afternoon launch by the head of football’s ruling body, the mayors of the nine participating cities, and a green-haired leopard called Zakumi, the official mascot for the 2010 World Cup.

Berlin, London, Mexico City, Paris, Rio de Janeiro, Rome and Sydney, who will also host Fan Fests in 2010, were also represented. “I am happy to be here with the World Cup and 32 teams to play the first ever World Cup on African soil in South Africa,” said Blatter. “Football is passion, football is Africa, football is South Africa.”

However, the biggest cheer from the crowd came for World Cup organising committee chief, Danny Jordaan.

“We have been talking about the World Cup in our country for many years, today we are here to see it in our country,” said Jordaan. “We can say to the world, we are ready.”

First up before the dignitaries, however, was a host of performers, including the Albert Luthuli Choir, Permanent and finally for a short set ahead of being one of the headline acts later in the evening, Cape Town’s very own export - Freshly Ground. Although the band members hail from Mozambique and Zimbabwe as well as South Africa, they were formed in the World Cup draw’s host city in 2002 and have built up a loyal local following.

Also present were members of Cape Town’s gay community, the largest in South Africa, while even the much-maligned vuvuzelas, a loud plastic trumpet favoured by Bafana fans, were unable to drown out the musicians on stage.

The party will continue on Long Street until midnight, with TKZee and K’Naan performing ahead of the draw, followed by Freshly Ground for their second set.
PJ Powers, best known for her chart hit World In Union, rock group Cassette and guitarist Jimmy Dludlu will conclude the 12 hours of festivities.

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