Wednesday 16th June

An early departure was required for the 1.30pm kick-off between Honduras and Chile in Nelspruit, a town on the edge of the Kruger National Park. The day began with a mild panic when I couldn’t find my tournament pass anywhere…all the places I thought it could be, it wasn’t. Eventually I (embassingly) found it in the back of my rucksack, and off we went, picking up Mexican photographer Omar on the way. Although it took 4 hours to get there and 4 hours to get back, it was a far more picturesque journey than if I had to travel to London, Hull or Carlisle, and this made it go quickly; Kleiney, myself and Steve were more than happy to share the driving.

As we approached Nelspruit, the stadium emerged in front of us – the giraffe-shaped structures around the outside of the ground looking out over the barren landscape. We overshot the junction we needed, and quickly looked for somewhere to turn round. To our amusement, it became clear that the road we needed was brand new and not in the sat nav, as we joined a field of 20 or so other cars doing the same thing about 100 yards up the road!

When we got to the stadium, I’ve decided the best shot of the outside of the ground would be taken from the road we overshot, and so I made the decision to drive back out there with my cameras for a great general view, which I’m sure was worth it.

The game itself was an extremely dull affair, not a lot more than I expected, livened up only by the passionate Chilean fans and the 2 teams’ South American rivalry. I had to shoot into the sun the whole match, struggling to get many pictures sharp due to the lack of contrast in the kits. When there aren’t that many pictures to take anyway, this made for a limited shoot that included as many fan and stadium pictures, as live action pictures.

The journey back seemed to take longer than the one there, and we aimed for a pizza dinner, only to find Luigi’s was closed, and with Bafana Bafana (South Africa) playing a late game, the pub was rammed so we opted for the (dead) Chinese next door. No wonder ithere was no one in…it was terrible, one of the worst meals I’ve ever contemplated eating. We made a hasty exit after nibbling at food we recognised, and headed home.


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