A world apart

In South Africa soccer isn't all about the World Cup

Updated: June 20, 2010, 12:43 PM ET

The games of the 2010 World Cup are being contested on perfectly manicured fields in pristine stadiums that hold between 45,000 and 94,500 fans. More than a quarter of a billion people around the globe are watching on television, and the results are being retold in newspapers and on websites in hundreds or languages. But beyond the touchlines and away from the cameras, soccer lives and breathes all over south Africa. Traveling the country for a month this spring, photographers Mathias Braschler and Monika Fischer discovered that a game can occur almost anywhere, at almost any time, with players who range from beginner to expert. Some may aspire to perform on a grander stage than a weed-filled pitch, dusty beach or conrete lot, but many are happy with what they have: a ball, or something resembling one, and enough competitors to make a match. And while they won't command the world's attention, the games they play are no less inspiring.