A fan who spent his life dreaming of the World Cup finally found his dream after the 2022 World Cup ended, with his life in limbo for months.
Paul Hayward was a 22-year-old who had been an avid soccer fan since the age of five.
But as his father, Steve, explained: “I always said I wanted to be a soccer fan and now I’m here, my life has changed forever.”
He’s a very talented footballer and it’s not just the passion, he’s a fantastic father.
“And it’s going to be so much fun to watch the games.”
A decade on, the lifelong soccer fan is still in limbo and will be unable to travel to South Africa for the 2019 World Cup, even though he has been allowed to live in the country since July.
“It was very sad,” he said.
“But we’re living in the moment and the future is still bright.”
It was difficult to see the World Cups end but it’s a bit sad that he’s not getting to go see them again.
“I’ll be able to go to the games in person again.
I’ve seen the games on TV so many times, I’m used to seeing them live and the fans were just fantastic.
Paul’s brother Chris, who was playing for Bristol City at the time of the 2018 World Cup in Germany, was among the fans who watched from a distance.”
There were quite a few people who had never seen a World Cup before,” he recalled.”
When you do something you want to see it and you don’t know what’s going on it’s very emotional.
“You’re watching it on television, but when it’s done, it’s gone.”
I’m really happy that we have the chance to go back and see the games again, but it’ll be difficult to watch.
“Fans have spent the past two weeks living in a house near the city centre where the World Championships and Euro 2020 finals will take place.”
People are looking for somewhere to stay and it was a lot of empty homes in the centre,” he added.”
We’ve had so many requests to stay there and so we’re doing that.
“It’s hard to know where to go for the World’s Final but Paul’s brother, Chris, says he’d like to come back for the tournament in 2020, with the prospect of a second World Cup.”
If you’re going to a World Championship, then I’d be very interested to come out and watch it,” he told the BBC.”
The only problem is, we’re going into that tournament in 2019.
“So I’m looking forward to it.”
Read more stories from the South African capital.