Soweto’s soccer fans were treated to a fantastic night out when Heineken lit up the trendy PDL Car Wash in Pimville on Wednesday evening.
Popular local funnyman David Kau got the crowd in good spirits and 5FM’s Euphonik worked the decks as guests enjoyed the shisa nyama and ice-cold Heinekens on offer. There were prizes to be won too, but the real highlight of the evening was the appearance of two-time Champions League winner Deco.
The 37-year-old former Porto, Chelsea and Barcelona playmaker posed for photos with eager fans and showed that his skills haven’t diminished with age by serving up an array of tricks. He even scoffed down a few walkie talkies – after Kau assured him that “they won’t run away”. Capped 75 times for Portugal, Deco has played alongside the likes of Ronaldinho, Cristiano Ronaldo, Didier Drogba and SA’s own Benni McCarthy.
Happily, the match lived up to expectations as the European heavyweights went toe-to-toe in a Champions League first-leg encounter at Barca’s Camp Nou fortress. The visitors defended stoically until the 77th minute, when Lionel Messi (who else?) beat Manuel Neuer at the German international’s near post with a fierce drive from the edge of the area. Three minutes later, the four-time Ballon d’Or winner completed a sublime brace by collecting a through ball and leaving Bayern’s Jérôme Boateng for dead with an audacious shimmy before calmly lobbing Neuer.
In the process, he went past Ronaldo’s record mark of 76 Champions League goals and had the stunned crowd chanting his name in Soweto. Neymar added a third in injury time to virtually assure the Catalans a place in the final – possibly against El Clasico rivals Real Madrid in what would be a clash for the ages.
As guests partied on into the night after the final whistle, Heineken SA Marketing Manager Tjeerd Veldhuis said he was pleased with the response.
“As Champions League sponsor, Heineken gave South African supporters at the venue and those enjoying the match elsewhere the opportunity to #ChampionTheMatch and be part of the global Champions League fan community. In doing so, the brand gave fans a legendary match night experience.”
We don’t want to be greedy here, but wouldn’t it be great if the Dutch brewer put on events like this for every big game? And by big we mean National First Division, corporate six-a-side, your son’s U11 kickabout . . .