|Life After Football|
It’s now 1 week until the World Cup kicks off in Russia and we've been counting down the days with a World Cup throwback every Thursday for the past 10 weeks.
Last week we were praising King James and this week, with the opening game now so close, we finish our countdown with one of the greatest World Cup curtain raisers of all time...
The opening game of a World Cup is one of the sporting events of the year, just as the final game is.
It's the day when the entire world turns it's eyes towards one country, one city, one stadium. Back in 2010, with it being the first World Cup on African soil, there was a special sense of occasion as the world turned to one continent.
South Africa's tournament opener against Mexico was, essentially, everything fans wanted that World Cup to be. We'd be told of the vuvuzela and the soundtrack to the tournament was as such. One or multiple droning noises that, although some complained about, all can cast our minds or more so our ears back to where you were in 2010, purely through that humming. And as the 2010 World Cup began, the vuvuzela choir was out.
A tight first-half with a disallowed goal for Carlos Vela of Mexico did nothing to silence the crowd, as Bafana Bafana and their adoring support seemed to get louder and more vibrant in the stands as the game went on. Into the second half, and the moment that African football had been waiting for...
One of the goals of the tournament came in the opening game and the first World Cup goal scored in Africa was to the pleasure of an African player; Siphiwe Tshabalala, playing in his 50th game for South Africa.
An iconic moment if ever there was one as the vuvuzelas got louder and louder whilst he and teammates danced on the corner of the pitch. The perfect opening curtain to a tournament.
Mexico equalised later in the half through the experienced Rafa Marquez and the team yellow missed a chance to steal a famous late win, hitting the post in the final minutes. But in a tournament where Ghana came so close to a semi-final - a Luis Suarez hand away - the 2010 World Cup was a celebration of African culture and African football. This was embodied through the strike of one man's left boot.