Media lied about sa, world cup fans say

Foreign fans who ignored negative reports about South Africa and flocked in for the World Cup say they've had a great time here but are angry that their media misled the public about this country.

Foreign fans who ignored negative reports about South Africa and flocked in for the World Cup say they've had a great time here but are angry that their media misled the public about this country.

They feel thousands were denied a lifetime experience.

Sowetan caught up with fans watching games live on TV in the string of bars and coffee shops lining Cape Town's famed Long Street.

The street is a melting pot of all the cultures and races. It is also known for its wild night life and high fashion.

English soccer fans Sharon Bishop and Paul Veniato are in the country for the first time. They said local people had been "very friendly".

"This World Cup means everything to the country and to the continent. The people are proud of their country. We can feel that this is an African World Cup," Bishop said.

"We ignored the British press - they make up stuff since it sells papers. They like creating fear," Veniato said.

The two, who supported Cameroon against Japan, said they would be supporting most of the African teams during the tournament.

US fan Billy Thinnes, who was having a drink with four compatriots, accused the UK media of "portraying South Africa the worst", which was "not an issue in the US".

"I wish the Americans were as welcoming as South Africans. People here treat us like natives. We are going to be supporting Bafana too," Thinnes said.

"We have crime in the US and everywhere in the world. One has to be 'smart' to be safe."

Andrey Surcer, a Canadian living in Japan but supporting Slovakia, said: "I want to get hardcore African experience like I see on TV. I would love to see South Africa win. I have seen people with nothing who beg on the streets blowing the vuvuzela. It means a lot to them."

Dutch fans Robin Simon and Margriete Privee said they were having a great time though pickpockets stole their phones.

"But we don't have a problem," they said.

Nikolai Doedelmenn from Germany said he loved the improved infrastructure, such as roads and stadiums, ahead of the World Cup.

"Cape Town is one of the most beautiful cities in the world. The vibe in Long Street is great. Bafana fans are awesome," Doedelmenn said.

He complained of crime after being threatened with a knife and robbed in Grassy Park.

He asked the government to close the gap between the rich in Constantia and the poor in Khayelitsha.

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