The final whistle was greeted with a huge cheer by the orange-tinted crowd that turned up for the live screening of the Netherlands’ victory over Japan at the FIFA Fan Fest™ in Port Elizabeth on Saturday afternoon.
Among them were the 13 representatives of the Sports Witnesses Soccer Team (SWST), whose flight from Amsterdam arrived in the Friendly City just over an hour before the start.
The group, said their spokesman Wim Takkebos, travelled to various football tournaments around the world to minister the Word of God under the Ultimate Goal banner. “Some people preach, but we live out the message through playing football.”
They will be in Nelson Mandela Bay until July 8, during which time they will play a number of matches against local opponents in PE, Uitenhage, Despatch and Jeffreys Bay as well as present several coaching clinics that are combined with life skills applications.
“Each activity gives us an opportunity to minister to a different group of people through a universal language – football,” said Takkebos.
Although the composition of the group changes all the time – only three of the current members were at the World Cup in Germany – Takkebos has been involved for the past six years.
They are coordinating their efforts with the Ultimate Goal project in the Eastern Cape. Both groups have links with the International Sports Coalition (ISC), an informal sports outreach network that has been in existence for more than half a century.
“It was the type of match where we needed to be patient,” Takkebos said after cheering his home nation to victory. “Honestly, the first half was quite boring.”
He said it was not until the second half that the Dutch were able to play their signature fast-paced, “one-touch football”. “That’s how we like to play the game back home.”
Takkebos said the Dutch were a good bet to make it deep into the knock-out stages. “We will probably finish first in our group now and then we’ll be well-placed to go through to the semi-finals, for sure.”
South Africa was a “bizarre mix of cultures” and “very beautiful”, said Takkebos, who is on his third visit to these shores.
Beat boxer George Avakian, from SA’s Got Talent fame, will be the main act on Monday’s entertainment programme. The award-winning artist will take to the stage at 7pm.
The matches that will be screened live are: Portugal and Korea at 1.30pm, Chile against Switzerland (played at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium) at 4pm and Spain versus Honduras at 8.30pm.
Entrance to the Fan Fest, which is open from 11am to midnight on match days, is free. Visit www.facebook.com/NMB2010 for regular updates.
CAPTION: Dutch supporters Wim Takkebos and Lourens Fieten flank Douleen Whitebooi, from the Ultimate Goal project in the Eastern Cape, at the FIFA Fan Fest™ in Port Elizabeth on Saturday. Photo: Full Stop Communications
Full Stop Communications
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FIFA Fan Fest™