JOHANNESBURG - It is not not La Bombonera. But the Westfalenstadion, or the Signal Iduna Park as it is currently named, is also on the bucket list. And to tick it off will bring so much joy. As a football fan that ended up making a living out of the game, I have many stadiums I dreamt of going to for a live match, for some particular matches.
The Estadio Alberto J Armando - tops the list. La Bombonera (The chocolate box in English) is of course the home of Boca Juniors, the team for whom my favourite football player - the great Diego Maradona - is a legend.
I am yet to visit Argentina but you can bet that when I do, a Boca Juniors home match, preferably against River Plate, will be on the itinerary. While I await that dream to become a reality, other stadiums continue to be ticked off the list.
And this weekend it will be the turn of Borussia Dortmund’s home ground, the Westfalenstadion. Of course the ideal would have been for a match between Dortmund and Liverpool I get goosebumps just imagining being in the crowd with the two sets of supporters singing “You’ll Never Walk Alone”.
Not that Saturday’s match will not be any special, far from it - for it will be the Revierderby, Dortumund against their Ruhr valley rivals Schalke 04.
This after all is the very same match that marked the opening of this stadium for the first time way back in 1974. Later that year World Cup matches were played at the same venue. As it is, I’ve actually been to the Westfalenstadion although the memory of it was not that special, hence the excitement for this weekend.
During the 2006 World Cup, I watched the round of last 16 match between Brazil and Ghana there, a match that ended in a 3-0 humiliation for the Black Stars that I was supporting given Bafana Bafana’s absence from the global showpiece.
I have a soft spot for the "yellow and black" and will be cheering them on against Schalke 04 in what will hopefully be a packed stadium. Yet, if the prospect of watching a Dortmund match live is making me wish the hands of the clock moved a little quicker, it is also the fact that I will have an interview with one of Africa’s football legends while in Germany that has got me excitedly anticipating the trip.
Jay Jay Okocha was the first Nigerian to star in the Bundesliga, for Eintracht Frankfurt, and the Nigerian legend has been availed for us during the trip.
It will be very interesting to hear what he makes of Nigeria’s chances at next year’s World Cup as well as his views on his nephew Alex Iwobi. And there’s also a trip to the Dortmund Academy to get some insight into how the German giants keep churning the talent out.
Germany here I come. Next up La Bambonera for sure!