JUMPING, dancing and chanting, more than a 1000 people showed up in Soweto yesterday to get a glimpse of Brazil at a World Cup training session.
Fans yelled and waved Brazilian and South African flags the moment the players entered the field at the Dobsonville Stadium, and screamed even more loudly when the Brazilians waved back to them.
"We are ecstatic about what is happening here," said 20-year-old student Khethiwe Nyembe.
"It's hard to believe that the entire Brazilian team is practising here. It's fantastic we are getting this chance."
Before the training session, coach Dunga gave a ball and a Brazilian flag to two children, then posed for a photo. Dunga also played with some of the ball boys, as did Real Madrid attacking midfielder Kaká.
It was expected to be Brazil's only practice open to the public ahead of the World Cup.
Brazil are not likely to grant more access to the public, as players and officials said fan hysteria was one of the reasons the team was eliminated in the 2006 World Cup.
Hundreds of fans outside the stadium greeted the players as they arrived on the team bus.
"What an honour to be able to see these players from up close, we couldn't be happier," said 18-year-old student Sithembiso Ntshingila. "What a great opportunity this is."
"Is Ronaldinho here? I'm hoping to see him," said Gerson Maboko outside the stadium.
"What do you mean he is not here? Why? At least can we see Robinho and Kaká?"
The delighted fans yelled every time the players got near them on the sidelines. - Sapa-AP