Adventurous duo watch first match

TWO young German adventurers, who travelled by road from Europe to witness the 2010 Fifa World Cup, watched their first match at Soccer City on Wednesday night.

With their faces painted in German flag colours and large flags wrapped around their shoulders, the pair arrived two hours before Germany's do-or-die match against Ghana.

"Yes the tournament was in Germany last time (in 2006) but we were quite young then and did not go to the stadiums. This was the first World Cup game we watched at a stadium," Max Schwenn said.

Schwenn, 21, and Nils Pitz, 20, planned their 110-day, 25000km trip from Frankfurt to Johannesburg to coincide with the World Cup. They drove through 14 African countries from November and arrived in Soweto in March.

But until this week they had experienced the soccer spectacular from Soweto's fan parks and public viewing areas.

"Before the game I was a bit nervous but now I am thrilled," said Schwenn after the game.

"I would have been very disappointed had they not made it through to the knockout stages.

"Back home in 2006 we went to fan parks and other public areas to get a feel of the World Cup experience," Pitz said.

"I must say the atmosphere here is different. I am disappointed with the German fans because I think they did not make enough noise. But the vibe on the streets is great.

"The singing, dancing, cheering is more enthusiastic than it was at home. I think the World Cup in South Africa is better than the one we had in Germany," Schwenn said.

Apart from the adventure and World Cup experience, Schwenn and Pitz are living in Orlando West, Soweto, to help Ikageng Itireleng - an NGO that helps more than 1500 HIV-positive children with food, school uniforms, transport and counselling.

In partnership with Grassroots Soccer, Schwenn and Pitz have organised tickets for about 800 children to attend soccer matches in Rustenburg.