The Black Stars meet the White Eagles at Loftus

I’m in the stands at Loftus Versveld about to watch the game between Serbia, the Beli Orlovi or White Eagles, and Ghana, known as the Black Stars.

The stadium is a multicolour mix today, with a considerable amount of Serbia’s white and blue, a good dose of Ghana’s green, yellow and red combination – and a solid sprinkling of distinctive Bafana Bafana jerseys which we’ll no doubt see in every stadium throughout the tournament. Every team seems to have its own way of expressing gees – the Serbian and Ghanain drums today are doing a better job of competing with the trumpeting vuvuzelas than the Mexican guitars and shakers did on Friday!

The Hyundai Fan of the Match scouts are out and we’ll have to see whether a Black Eagle or White Star fan takes the honour. My money is on a Ghanain contingent who are rocking the stands with real trumpets rather than vuvuzelas!

The Hyundai team is excited to be hosting 228 more young people and their guardians here today through the Hyundai FIFA Ticket Fund programme in partnership with Lapdesk. They’re all beaming and overwhelmed to be watching their first ever World Cup game, once a distant dream for them but now a becoming a fantastic experience that we hope will inspire them.

Former Black Stars coach Ratomir Dujković hails from Serbia. He led the African country into a FIFA World Cup tournament for the first time in their history in 2006, where they were beaten 3-0 by Brazil. The Ghanaians still have a Serbian manager, Milovan Rajevac, who leads one of Africa’s strongest sides with a powerful blend of young and experienced players. We’ll soon see if Ghana be the first sub-Saharan nation to record a victory in the first ever World Cup tournament held on African soil.

Ghana captain Stephen Appiah, who led his side in Germany 2006, said, “Everyone is talking about Germany and Australia. But let me tell you, I’m scared of Serbia because they are aggressive and technically, they are good.”

This is Serbia’s first World Cup appearance as an independent nation, appearing before under Yugoslavia and Serbia & Montenegro.Serbia certainly has a skillful midfield, led by Dejan Stankovic. They aren’t the quickest team, but they are very tall, and as the game gets underway some of the Ghanaians like little Anthony Annan look diminutive on the field next to their Serbian counterparts!

Mexican Waves swell through the Loftus crowd, but still nothing on the scoreboard as we approach halftime.  The Lapdesk / FIFA Ticket fund group are really enjoying the action and the atmosphere – even without goals being scored! 

The possession has been pretty even at half time, with Serbia taking 51% and Ghana 49% – and very few real scoring opportunities for either side. If this match ends in a draw it will be the first time Ghana have drawn in the World Cup, having won two and lost two in Germany. A mass of dancing and drumming Ghanains circles around the pitch, whipping up the crowd and spurring the players on.

As the sun sets over Pretoria there is still not much to report, the teams remain evenly matched with no spectacular performances on either side.  OOOH – here we go, the crowd roars as Lukovic (Serbia) is booked for the second time and receives a red card.

GOAL!! Ghana’s free kick from Asamoah Gyan smashes home and the Ghana fans erupt! Serbia’s tense corner then fails to equalise.  The tall team are on the attack but miss yet another shot on goal. The smaller Ghana team seems to be running circles around and under the tall Serbs and my money is on them tonight. Go Africa!

 And that’s it, the final whistle – Ghana is victorious! There is going to be some red, green and yellow party gees for the Black Stars tonight!

 Hyundai – We bring the teams, you bring the gees!

Be there with Hyundai Blog – 2010 FIFA World Cup

Tamaryn Smith, media correspondent for Hyundai

The most awaited day in football came with a little extra adrenalin for us, when a friend’s precious ticket was whipped off the car dashboard and out of the open window by the gusting wind as we waved our flags in the festive snake of Soccer City traffic.  He, the driver, bailed straight out the vehicle in moments of sheer panic – as did several other empathetic car occupants who dashed around in the wind with him in a frantic search – real SA gees!  A little granny pointed to the upside down ticket on the roadside in the nick of time, restoring sanity as we headed on to the great calabash.

Massive character puppets guided our way into the stadium, where we were enveloped by vibrant colour, sombreros, green and gold gees, fever pitch excitement…and ah, the VUVUZELA!

The festivities were definitly not restricted to the stadium. Thousands of fans gathered at Hyundai Park at Suncoast in Durban, just one of three sponsored Hyundai Parks in South Africa.

South Africa’s World Cup chief Danny Jordaan calls this a defining moment in our history, right up there with the release of Nelson Mandela and going to the polls for the first time. The sheer excitement of being part of that moment is now palpable in every vuvuzela blast.  Soccer City has become the holding pen for the world’s biggest vuvuzela orchestra, ready to spur on Bafana Bafana, the only team who is accustomed to the constant background roar.

Festive fans are gathering at the Hyundai Parks set up at the V&A Waterfront in Cape Town, Suncoast Casino in Durban and the Italian Club in Johannesburg, which are set to be filled to capacity. Lucky fans in Joburg and Cape Town will win the opportunity to be whisked off in the Hyundai Fan Van to the actual games today, and we wait to hear who they’ll be.

Hyundai Park at the V&A was packed with football fans for the opening match.

The festitivities at Hyundai Park at the Italian Club in Bedfordview.

Hyundai has already brought a group of South African children to experience the excitement as part of their FIFA Ticket Fund initiative and we see the excited group in the stands. Hyundai is partnering with Lapdesk to give vital desks and tickets to the games to children all over the country.  Today, the faces of the 20 children from Othandweni Childrens Home are beaming with joy at being part of this once in a lifetime experience. “Its great to be here, we feel very special,” says young Erashma Zefanias from

Othandweni Childrens Home enjoy a once-in-a-lifetime experience at the Opening Ceremony

.  Othandweni manager Phineas Phiti says, “This is fantastic. It really is an opportunity of a lifetime. Through Hyundai, we managed to see and experience this. The kids are so happy.”

The historic opening ceremony kicks off with polite requests to hold back on blowing so the performers including R Kelly and the Soweto Spiritual Singers, legendary Hugh Masekela, Nigerian star Femi Kuti, Algeria’s Khaled, and South Africa’s own Hip Hop Pantsula could be heard as they perform with 1,581 others to make the opening ceremony a memorable display. Unfortunately, the request itself couldn’t be heard above the already non-stop trumpeting!

Praise poet Zolani Mkhiva is a powerful, singular image of the spirit of Africa in the middle of the field, and he is answered by a group of drummers sending thrilling goosebumps through the crowd with “The Calling.”

The Mama Africas who line up in the directions of all the other stadiums provide a spectacular display, no perfectly synchronised movements here – but round, warm, natural African energy and exhuberance that beams a welcome to the world.

Next – “It’s Africa’s time to shine” resonates through the stadium. A giant Dung Beetle rolls a huge blow up football, reminiscent of the Hyundai Goodwill Balls that have been collecting messages in all the participating nations.  South Africa’s Timothy Moloi performs a stirring rendition of the anthem “Hope”, replacing opera singer Siphiwo Ntshebe, who in a cruel twist of fate lost his life to meningitis before having his opportunity to take a World Cup stage.

Archbishop Desmond Tutu doesn’t seem to have stopped dancing since he entertained the world at the opening concert, and cameras zone in on him doing the Tutu rock clad head to toe in Bafana gear as TKZee and Hip Hop Pantsula  sing “Shibobo.”

Femi Kuti delivers for Africa, followed R Kelly singing “Sign Of A Victory” with the Soweto Spiritual Singers in dazzling silver garb as national flags flash.

Sepp Blatter and Jacob Zuma, the dignitaries of the day, come onto the pitch with the words “The spirit of Mandela is in Soccer City.” Sadly, in a tragic development, Nelson Mandela’s great grand-daughter, Zenani Mandela, was killed in a car crash on Thursday night. The great leader, who has played a massive role in bringing the tournament to our shores, was understandably not able to attend. President Jacob Zuma conveys his message, “The game must begin, enjoy the game.”  

Zuma then officially opens the 19th World Cup as the vuvuzelas rise to a deafening crescendo. TV cameras beam images of dancing fans with their SA style oversize glasses, African garb and Makarapa hats out to the world. It’s going to be tough to select the Hyundai Fan of the Match with everyone in the stadium in high spirited contention.

In the first half, the Mexicans repeatedly prove that tequila is not their only shooter with repeated strikes on goal. None find their mark though, thanks to Mexican misses and some brilliant work by goalie Khune who will surely dive and deflect his way into football legend.  South Africa seems to be very narrowly holding on, with a real feeling amongst the press contingent near me that a Mexican goal is imminent. Stats are being shared – Mexico have played the opening match of the World Cup on four occasions, losing three and drawing one.  Also, no host nation has ever failed to get beyond the group, nor lost their opening game!

Bafana Bafana is repeatedly giving the ball to the Mexicans as the sombreros in the crowd nod and pitch with delight. What seems to be the first goal of the match is nullified as Vela is offside. PHEW!  The Mexicans are rattled and the next header shot at goal is way off.  

The sheer decibel level of thousands upon thousands of vuvuzelas being blown with abandon was certainly leaving a lasting impression on the contingent of international journalists around me who were trying to hear themselves think. By the second half seemed to be taking its toll on the Mexicans and they jog out of the tunnel steely-faced.  They’re having the opposite effect on Bafana Bafana and they stream out in a far more attacking mood. I’m certainly missing the loud affection of the boooooo sound for popular player Booth and hope to see him start in later games.  

There is far more movement into South Africa’s half now and excitement reaches fever pitch as it’s South Africa’s turn for striking opportunities and the hosts start tackling and retaining possession far better than the first half.

LADUUUUUUUUUMA!  South Africa score and it’s a legendary shot from Tshabalala in the top corner!    Game on! Bafana Bafana then miss two glorious opportunities to score another through Modise.

The Mexicans take it and finally score in the second half.  Bafana boys are still hanging on beautifully though and dancing around the battle-weary Mexicans until the nail-biting final minute where a powerful strike from Mphela cruelly hits the post.  AHHHHHHH!

The final whistle blows at 1-1, with Khune, Tshabalala and Pienaar in particular now truly registering on global football radars and earning their green and gold host team a true place as serious contenders.   Soccer City disgorges happy fans who stream out dancing and yes….still blowing those Vuvuzelas. South African and Mexican fans are backslapping and happily clustering together for those memorable group pics.  
All in all, the opening delivered a memorable experience in the brand new stadium, and with France and Uruguay ending in a 0-0 draw last night in Cape Town, Bafana Bafana’s chances just got better.

Hyundai – we bring the teams, you bring the gees!

The Hyundai Goodwill Carnival Welcomes the World to South Africa!

Come and experience the massive celebration as Hyundai, official transport partner of FIFA, welcomes the world to South Africa, a mere 6 days before kickoff! The Goodwill Balls from all thirty-two qualified nations arrive back in South Africa on Saturday 5 June and will form part of a parade through the streets of Sandton.

A special open top VIP party bus filled with popular South African celebrities and over 300 dazzling street performers, representing different cultures from around the world, will lead the carnival. Starting at corner 5th Street and Katherine in Sandton, the parade will finish at Hyundai Park at Mushroom Farm Park. Hosted by much loved South African personality, Elana Afrika, the party will continue as multiple SAMA award winners Watershed and Lira entertain the audience from 13h00! All for FREE!

There will be delicious food and drinks on sale and both the rugby and football matches will be shown live on giant open air screens from 15h00 to get you in the sporting mood. Plus there are more 2010 FIFA World Cup™ match tickets to be won.

So don your green and gold, grab your friends and family, hop on board the epic carnival and enjoy the incredible South African gees as we welcome the world to our shores!

Hyundai team buses for the world cup have arrived!

 

An aerial view of all 32 Hyundai team buses decorated with their own unique slogan and official colours in front of Johannesburg’s Soccer City.

Today saw all 32 Hyundia•Kia buses that will transport our national team and the 31 other participating teams for the duration of the 2010 FIFA World Cup™ arrive at the spectacular Soccer City!

 The presidential suite at Soccer City was the venue for the Official Vehicle Handover Ceremony press conference and it was a hive of activity and excitement – with the view onto the pitch providing the perfect back drop to the event.  

Speeches were made by FIFA Secretary General, Jerôme Vàlcke; FIFA LOC CEO, Dr. Danny Jordaan; Senior Vice-President of Hyundai Motor Company, Sean Kim; CEO of Hyundai South Africa, Alan Ross; Director of the Overseas Marketing Group for Kia Motors Corporation, Soon-Nam Lee, and CEO of Kia Motors South Africa, Ray Levin.

 Dr Jordaan, who himself has been driving a Hyundai for many years, said that South Africa has truly embraced this world cup, with the nation’s energy making it a uniquely passionate event.

The conference moved outside where invited guests and media could view the colourful array of team buses and official transport vehicles with their unique slogans. Bus slogans included “One nation, proudly united under one rainbow” (South Africa), “The whole of Brazil is in here!” (Brazil), “Dare to Dream, Advance Australia” (Australia), “Don’t fear the big five, fear the Orange eleven” (Netherlands) and “Italian Azzurro on African sky” (Italy).

Hyundai will be transporting all national teams including the South African national team for the duration of the 2010 FIFA World Cup. The slogan on the bus “One Nation, Proudly united under one rainbow” was submitted by a member of the public, John Venter, winner of the “Be There with Hyundai” Competition.

 

The Portuguese Hyundai Goodwill Ball hots up Lusito Land

Last Saturday the Portuguese Hyundai Goodwill Ball rolled into Lusito Land to spread football fever and tickets to Joburg’s famous festival. In amongst the delicious Portuguese food stalls, festival goers were given the unique opportunity to inscribe their goodwill wishes to the Portuguese team (and Ronaldo!) on the giant Portuguese Goodwill ball!

Portugal mad fans show their love for all things Portuguese!

Ria de Jager was the lucky winner of two category two tickets for the 2010 FiFA World Cup.

The one and only Gareth Cliff signs the Goodwill Ball on Football Friday

Johannesburg 16 April 2010

The Goodwil Ball had an early start last Football Friday, when it rolled into SABC Radio Park to give the 5FM breakfast show team a chance to sign the giant ball. To add to the festivities Hyundai also did a ticket giveaway on Gareth’s show and one lucky listener won himself double tickets to a 2010 FIFA World Cup match – which was especially fitting given the ticketing situation  over the last few days!

Gareth Cliff makes his mark on the Hyundai Goodwill Ball

Hope you caught Albrecht Grundel, Operations Director of Hyundai SA on both SAFM and Metro on Friday chatting about the ball. All SABC staff were invited to sign the ball and receive an instant photograph in front of the now famous ball.

Thabo Modisane, Sias du Plessis, Leigh Ann Mol, Mabale Moloi, Albrecht Grundel (Operations Director of Hyundai SA), Kim Rabjohn (Mediacolada) and Gareth Cliff

Fun and games at the Rand Show

Johannesburg 11 April

We thought we’d seen it all, but this weekend at the Rand Show proved that the Hyundai Goodwill Ball hasn’t seen nearly all the weird and wacky South African football fans out there. Belly dancers, stilt-walkers and clowns brought the gees to the Rand Show and joined in the Goodwill Ball fun!

Boswell Wilkie stilt walkers get to sign the top of the Goodwill Ball.

A Lady Gaga look-a-like with a young football fan get in on the Goodwill Ball festivities at the Rand Show!

The Hyundai car display also drew in the crowds with the brand new i30 that is recently available in South Africa. Check out www.hyundai.co.za for more details or to book a test drive.

The new i30 in all its glory at the Rand Show.

Everyone loves the new Hyundai H1. It's a great play space too.

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