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By Francis Hweshe | Jul 14, 2010 | COMMENTS [ 0 ]

A UNIQUE reality show about 32 soccer-crazy fans - from each of the countries that took part in the World Cup - was filmed in secrecy for a month near Cape Town, and now has more than four million viewers on the internet.

The Shelly Point Hotel, Spa & Country Club, about two hours drive from Cape Town, was transformed into a colourful Bud House, fused with the soccer spirit for a whole month.

While watching the tournament's 64 matches, the house mates enjoyed a life of beer drinking, friendship, charity work, adventure, cultural exchange and the battle to cheer their home countries to victory.

A band of more than 100 crew and cast members took over the luxury hotel in the West Coast for a month of shooting, keeping it a water-tight secret affair from the media.

The contestants lived in groups of four in each room, to emulate Fifa's grouping of the competing nations.

Each contestant was then eliminated as their home country bowed out of the tournament.

However, those who lost did not go home outright, but stayed in the other part of the Bud House, until the contest finished with a Spanish victory on Sunday.

The producers of the show only gave the media the first names and country of the fans.

South Africa was represented by Ezra, who is believed to be resident in the US.

Amanda and Tanja, who represented World Cup finalists Spain and Netherlands, respectively, could not be reached for comment after flying to Johannesburg for the final match last Sunday.

But Sowetan caught up with some of the contestants at the Bud House on Monday as they were packing their bags to go home.

They said they had enjoyed a great time together, sharing love and support during the joyous and trying moments of the World Cup.

They also said they had learnt that it was possible for people from different cultures, races and nationalities to live together in peace and in harmony.

Ghanaian Barbara Boakye-Yiadom said it was "hard to live with the opposition".

When her country was knocked out of the tournament, she said she was "heart-broken and devastated", but was comforted by other house mates.

Brazilian Adrianno De Lima said he had missed watching his country with "the Brazilian family".

Nigerian Adewuyi said he now knew how to sing a Brazilian song.

"Apart from losing, there was lots of support," he said, adding that he had seen a tremendous amount of shared humanity in the competition.

The show, which is now a hit Internet series, was directed by multi-award winning US director Evan Weinstein, who is also the director of the reality show Survivor.

Weinstein said the selection criteria was complex and that the ultimate prize was not monetary, but the honour for the contestants to be ambassadors of their countries at a global event.

He said that he had brought the contestants together in the show for an "incredible moment" where love, friendship, peace and culture could be shared.

He hoped that by doing this the world could achieve global unity and "a little peace and less fighting".

Weinstein said the series had been successful, "raising the bar of what people could expect on the internet".


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