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Dutch have 'home' support in finals

The Netherlands will have the support of many South African locals -- Afrikaners with Dutch roots -- when it plays Spain in Sunday's World Cup final in Johannesburg.

Dutch immigrants known as Boers settled in the Western Cape in the 1600s and created settlements throughout much of South Africa. The kept their Dutch dialect and thrived even after losing the Anglo-Boer War in 1899-1902. The Netherlands opposed the Afrikaner-dominated government's policy of segregation that ended in 1994.

Many Afrikaners will be rooting for the Dutch.  “I feel a strong connection to them because of my heritage,” said Anja Bredell, a 25-year-old fashion design student from Pretoria. “I also have blond hair, blue eyes and fair skin like most of the Dutch.”

Others have less attachment to the Dutch and soccer. Rugby has always been the No. 1 Afrikaner sport. “The Afrikaners in South Africa have only recently started to watch football," said David Maree, a 21-year-old professional cyclist from Potchefstroom, "so they are not as focused on traditions but rather on whether the team that wins played well and fair.”

Read the whole story at Johannesburg Times »

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