South Africans rush for tickets


CAPE TOWN, April 15 – Thousands of South Africans queued outside World Cup ticketing centres on Thursday as the first direct over-the-counter sales for the tournament opened ahead of kick-off in June.Eleven ticketing centres opened at 0700 GMT in all nine host cities with half a million tickets up for grabs in the final sales phase as fans flocked to centres with flasks of coffee, chairs, pillows and blankets.

"We knew that the line was going to be long so we wanted to be here early to get our tickets," said 18-year-old student Jevon Kannemeyer from Cape Town who got to the Cape Town ticket centre at 1645 GMT the previous day.

"I’m very excited because I’m a heavy soccer fanatic."

Kannemeyer said he had not applied for tickets in previous sales phases, saying it was a long process which had not guaranteed matches.

"You can just pay over the counter with your cash and you are guaranteed to get the tickets right now," he told AFP as he waited near the front of the queue.

Ticket processing got off to a slow start in Cape Town with some fans fearing that desired matches could be sold out at other centres.

"That was one of the big reasons why we came so early. Hopefully, it’s slow everywhere else," said 26-year-old Brad Conlin, taking a seat on the floor while waiting his turn at number 44, an hour after the centre opened.

Tickets were available at all 64 World Cup matches after FIFA made an additional 300 category three tickets available for the final at Johannesburg’s Soccer City stadium on July 11.

"We’ve been here since last night, half past ten," said Richard Mahwayo, 57, who held a hand-written cardboard sign saying: "Warning!!! Stay clear, we’ve got the ‘fever’. World Cup Fever."