So I went to Ghana-Germany match. It was a mess except for the match being absolutely beautiful. While I was still in Durban, I decided to call Martin, the cat that showed me around Soweto. I told him I would pay for his ticket if he wanted to come to the match with me. He was down, so that cemented my choice to return to Joburg. So when I got there, he told me he was sick and couldn’t make it. This sucked, because I had planned on staying at his house, but it is really hard to navigate the townships, especially at night. I had a few people who offered me a place to stay if I ever needed it in Joburg, so I figured I would call one of them. On the train to the stadium I met Jigs. His young son was standing behind my large backpack on a packed train, we starting talking. As we separated, he told me I can stay at his place if I needed. I figured this would be easier, I could just come home with him after the match instead of trying to connect with someone else. Now for tickets. At most I had payed half price thus far. I figured a 90,000 seat stadium there had to be lots of people selling. I was wrong. There weren’t enough tickets being sold to really drive down the price. In the end, I found half price, a $120 ticket for $60. It was a guy he planned to bring his girl, but she was sick. I only had r400($60) on me, so I couldn’t pay him more. He wasn’t too interested in playing the game, he tried for a bit, with no luck, so he told me r400 was fine. But as I talked to him and got to know him, I felt bad, so I gave him $60 US I had in my bag, so I paid full price.
The match was great. Germany is amazing. Everything about them is precise, they put constant pressure on the defenders, and always seem to make the right choice. They create so much space for themselves by playing smart football. Anytime Ghana cheated or guessed Germany easily passed or dribbled into the open space. They must play the best team football in the tournament. Nothing amazing from an individual, but they are so difficult to defend as a team. Ghana is also amazing. They create space when there is none. It is the complete opposite, but equally as beautiful. Every player on the field creates space for themselves whether it’s with their first touch, on the dribble, or creative passing. I could never coach West African football, I have no idea how they think to do the things they do. It goes against everything I’ve found to be good decisions. It’s one thing for a forward to be creative, but players in their defensive part of the field….dats crazy. I do think such flair comes with the casual attitude I’ve talked about, and it seemed to hurt them in the final third. It’s like they can’t accept an average goal, when they had a good shot, they would try to beat one last defender, when they could make a dangerous pass, they attempted a ridiculous shot, and they made one last pass whenever it seemed a chance for that player to go for goal. I don’t understand it, but I enjoy it. Anyway, the game was well worth it.
After the match I called Josi and got his wife. It turns out he left his phone at home. So that plan was out. Not wanting to bother anyone else that late, I called Martin to get his address to take a taxi there. I gave my boy that sold me the ticket $20 US for r150 and went in search of a taxi. First, I had a quick stroll through all the buses to see if any were going in the direction I hoped to go in the morning. No such luck. It turns out taxis are hard to find. I asked about ten people where to find one. Each told me something different. I was never sure to keep going where I was headed or heed the most recent advice. Eventually I was walking with no direction and I found them. This was probably an hour and a half after the match ended. They are metered taxis for r15 per km. But they don’t have a meter. They make up a number. The first told me r500. I talked to a couple more and eventually found one that would take me for the r150 I had. Now he just had to figure out where Martin’s house was. We stopped for help a couple times, and eventually I was at Martins house in a safe bed.
I got up a 7am and hopped on a Public taxi. Most drivers head to town when they are full, this one needed two more people than could actually fit. But they fit. I got to Park Station just before the bus left for Bloemfontein. My destination is Port Elizabeth, Bloemfontein is on the way. I figured I’d spend a day there before I got back to the coast. The bus took longer than I could have imagined, it spent about 30 minutes of the trip on the highway. The rest was between small towns to drop off and pick up. My 8:35 departure arrived at 3pm. I think the distance is between 150 and 200 miles. I didn’t mind tho, I’ve enjoyed the long bus trips so far. The only problem was I still had to find a place to stay before dark. I went to an internet café and looked up hostels in the area. They were all out of town, one being just on the edge. I decided to walk to that one. After walking for about an hour, mostly cause I wandered around town a bit, I got to the hostel. It was basic like the others, but this one was charging r500. I guess they are trying to make money during the world cup. With it getting dark soon I decided to suck it up and pay. I regret this, it ruined my evening. I had a nice walk, a very tasty bacon avocado burger, and watched some football, but the whole time I was mad that I’m was $70 for a bunk bed. So now I am laying in expensive bunk bed with the loud tv in the background and the louder snoring in the room next door. We’ll see how well I can fall asleep.