South African Diary: Day 3
Match day and, after an early breakfast, a gentle stroll along the seafront outside the hotel for the whole squad.
The beach here at Umhlanga Rocks is, as the name suggests, very rocky. It is also very beautiful and very loud. If you like the sound of the sea, this is the place for you.
Men fish in the sea all day and the walk came to a halt as the lads and staff watched what we all thought was an angler hauling in a huge fish - as it turned out, he'd actually caught a rock (and not of the fish and chip shop type).
A light lunch was taken at noon and a team meeting followed at 1.30pm before the lads set off to the ABSA Stadium.
This is a hugely impressive stadium in Durban, with huge stands towering over our training base at Amazula FC, literally metres down the road.
Most of what we were later told was a 30,000-plus crowd were already in the stadium when we arrived watching the warm-up match between South Africa Premier League teams Supersport United and Golden Arrows.
This crowd was unbelievable and reached fever pitch when Lesley Manyathela buried a late penalty to beat us 2-1 in this first friendly.
Horns and drums were everywhere and the whole main stand appeared to bounce to the beat. My personal highight was a man with an air raid siren, which he wound up and started at least three times per half much to the delight of the rest of the fans - imagine that at White Hart Lane!
Fans decked themselves out in anything white - doctor's coats appeared popular - and covered them in Pirates' badges. And then there were the hats. Another favourite item, fans carved all sorts of designs (skull and crossbones were, naturally, particularly popular) out of white hard hats.
It was an amazing sight and, alongside the faces of the street kids of Durban at training on Thursday, one that will live in the memory for a long time. Football is certainly alive here.
With those fans in mind, just imagine the World Cup here if the country's bid for the 2010 tournament is successful.
After the game, it was back to the hotel for a barbeque with the 2010 bid committee, selected sponsors and our full travelling party.
Then is was an early night in preparation for an early start as we head back across to Cape Town on Sunday morning.
From Paul Miles in South Africa