Portugal lifted by local support at first training

Updated: Jun 07, 2010, 09:02 AM IST

Durban: Portugal`s first World Cup training session in South Africa was watched by around 2,000 fans on Sunday, an indication of the team`s popularity among the local immigrant community.

The Portuguese squad landed in the morning and was met by thousands of supporters lining the streets of Magaliesburg, a small town some 70 kilometres from Johannesburg near which the team will stay and train.

Around 1,600 tickets were distributed for the hour-long training session at Bekker High School with at least another 400 people trying to watch from the areas behind the ground fencing.

"Ro-nal-do," was the loudest chant heard between the sounds of the vuvuzela horns as the players approached the school`s single stand.

"Everybody knows about the enormous Portuguese community in South Africa, and we expected this kind of thing. It`s just fantastic for us," defender Paulo Ferreira told reporters.

There are an estimated 500,000 descendants of Portuguese immigrants in South Africa. Portugal`s final warmup friendly against Mozambique on Tuesday is sold out with organisers saying all 28,000 tickets were bought within 12 hours.

Bureau Report