The build-up to the Currie Cup final has started in Kimberley and you can see and sense it – with businesses hanging up banners, flags being put up all over town, and just the general mood of people when you speak to them.
THE BUILD-UP to the Currie Cup final has started in Kimberley and you can see and sense it – with businesses hanging up banners, flags being put up all over town, and just the general mood of people when you speak to them.
There’s a massive case of Currie Cup fever in the air, and you can hear in people’s voices that something big is coming.
But also in the air is the nagging question: Will Windhoek Draught Park be at full capacity on Saturday?
According to Health Minister Dr Joe Phaahla, a media briefing is set to be held on Thursday to update the country on whether the remaining Covid-19 restrictions will remain or be scrapped.
The Cabinet will meet on Wednesday to make “new decisions” on Covid-19 restrictions which could see the end of compulsory indoor mask-wearing, a lifting of the cap on gatherings and travel requirements … and if the grapevine is anything to go by, then we will have a full stadium and be mask free.
That will definitely be a welcome change for everybody, especially for the Currie Cup final.
Meanwhile, the DA is also calling on President Cyril Ramaphosa to heed the advice of his own Health minister and immediately allow the stadium’s entry to full capacity.
According to Member of Parliament Ofentse Mokae it would be a pity for Griquas to play in front of a small home crowd.
“It would be a shame for the proud Windhoek Draught Griquas to be playing this historic final at their home ground against the Airlink Pumas to a small crowd of 6,400 people when they could be playing to a roaring crowd of 12,800 people from all over the country,” Mokae said.
“Even more so given that the advice of the Minister of Health, Dr Joe Phaahla, to the Cabinet is that entry limitations no longer need to be in place at the present moment due to a decline in the number of Covid cases.
“Given the momentous occasion of the Windhoek Draught Griquas playing on home ground, it is imperative that the people of this Province, and the supporters of the teams in general, are allowed to revel in the joy of their own provincial team making the finals and celebrate this event without unnecessary and unscientific limitations that will rob spectators of seats and local businesses of an economic influx.”
By Wednesday morning, all the tickets for the Currie Cup final had been sold out. It took just 24 hours for tickets to be snapped up. This is remarkable on its own.
Personally, I cannot think of the last time I have seen the Windhoek Draught Park at full capacity and I am not the only one. According to Kobus van Aswagen, who is a Blue Bulls supporter, the stadium has not seen a full capacity in many, many years and this will be a great boost for Griquas.
“I am a Bulls supporter by heart, but when the Kwaste play, I’ll always shout for the Kwaste, even when they play against the Bulls,” he said.
Several shops in Kimberley have started with their own build-up to the final. The OK Grocer in Beaconsfield has hung up flags inside the store and made up a stand area where you can get everything you will need for the braai after the game.
New Park Checkers has also hung up flags and balloons and there is a festive vibe in the store. I spoke to an employee at Checkers who was working at the ticket counter; she showed me how several people have bought tickets in bulk.
“One guy bought 55 tickets and it cost him R11,000,” she said.
She added that they were extremely busy with ticket sales on Tuesday, with long queues of fans waiting to get their pass to the final from early in the morning.
So, taking a step back, if we look at the speed at which the tickets were sold out, and listen to the chatter from the people in Kimberley, one can clearly feel the excitement building up. Saturday is going to be a momentous occasion.
It will be a key historical event for our city that will be written up in the history books for future generations to read about.
As the photographer for the DFA, I feel privileged to be able to be part of visually recording this historical event, knowing that 50 years from now, people will still be looking at photographs from the 2022 Currie Cup.
No matter which way the game goes, every single person attending the event should know that they were part of a story that will be told for many years to come.