Back to the stadium for (jabbed) Bafana fans

The Calabash soccer stadium near Soweto is going to be LIT on Tuesday. 🔥

The South African Football Association (SAFA) has given fans the green light to return to the FNB Stadium, as it’s officially known, to watch Bafana Bafana play against Ethiopia in a Qatar 2022 Fifa World Cup qualifier next week. 🙌🏽

It’s been a long 18 months since spectators could watch live sports matches in the country, thanks to the pandemic.

Top officials believe football can play a major role in SA’s ailing vaccination drive: our people just aren’t going out to get vaccinated and authorities don’t have a firm handle on the culture and beliefs driving this hesitancy. Watching your favourite team live – for free – could be the incentive people need. SAFA is giving away 50% of Tuesday’s tickets for free, but only fully vaccinated fans qualify – though it’s not clear whether that means those who’ve only had one jab make the cut, and SAFA hasn’t clarified this.

The body is also insisting its own officials be vaccinated by 30 October 2021 before taking part in events. The hugely popular Soweto Derby between Orlando Pirates and Kaizer Chiefs will also be used to encourage mass vaccination.

They’re even set on engaging taxi associations so that taxi drivers who take fans to the stadiums will also be vaccinated! 😁

This is the grassroots push we need. 

This article appeared as part of The Wrap, 7 October 2021. Sign up to receive our weekly updates.