We’re Going to the World Cup!
The 2010 World Cup in South Africa is under way. The opening ceremony has taken place at Johannesburg’s 94,000-capacity Soccer City. Thousands of fans gathered for the launch. The hosts face Mexico at 1500 BST. This year’s World Cup is the 19th staging of the event and the first time it has ever taken place on the African continent. On April 14, Jean-Sébastien Brettes, Melissa Gundlach, and Nicholas Kuhn all New Yorkers (originally from Europe & Africa) left for Africa to start “We’re Going to the World Cup!” followed by a small camera crew, making a pilgrimage down the continent from Morocco to South Africa, arriving in time to attend the 2010 World Cup. The 3-month journey takes them across 11 countries and over 5,000 miles.
The WGWC team reports from Morocco:
The time in Morocco was quite intense. We spent most of our time in Casablanca and it’s neighborhoods, where we visited what makes up the splendour of this city, including the great Mosque Hassan II, local markets, several beaches and the Medina of Casablanca. All of these places were astonishing and we were impressed by the kindness of people and their warm welcome.
Many thanks to the Moroccans we met and who befriended us. Through them, we were able to interview some key people in the Moroccan soccer world. The former doctor of the 2 greatest Moroccan clubs was one of them. He made it possible for us to attend the great derby between Raja and WAC. The atmosphere in the stadium was amazing, we could feel the passion for soccer in this wonderful country!! Unfortunately, we, were kicked out of the stadium because we wanted to shoot some footage during the game. We won’t do it again, we swear! Check out our derby experience in our short video, posting on Friday 4/30.
We also had the chance to attend a training at the Raja Club and then to hang out with Raja stars the rest of the day, sharing private moments with them. We’d like to thank all of them for their openness and candor!
One of our other destinations was one of Casablanca’s beaches where we were welcomed into several soccer games with local players. JSB was accepted right away by the kids, and thoroughly enjoyed playing his first game with the kids and the sound of the waves behind him. This too can be seen in a video posted on Wed 4/28.
In all, the WGWC team spent 11 days in Morocco. During their stay, they also had the opportunity to attend the Casablanca derby on April 26th, met the coach of the Raja Junior Team, and spend a whole day with a Moroccan soccer star. Finally, after a little over a week in Casablanca, we spent our last week-end in Marrakech where we rested a bit before leaving for the airport of Casablanca and onward to Cote d’Ivoire. A huge thank you and many hugs goes out to our gracious host, Florence Verley, for accommodating us in her beautiful home, Dar Tasmayoun.
So far, the pilgrimage has covered Morocco, Ivory Coast, Ghana, Nigeria, and are currently in Cameroon. And will soon be on their way to Congo / DRC, and finally, on to South Africa. Along the way, they intend to experience the customs and cultures through the background of African soccer stars, take the pulse of “football fever”, often finding themselves in pickup games.
Next Ivory Coast. Stay tuned.