1 October 2008
South Africa has launched the “Adopt a Nation” school campaign in the run-up the next year’s Fifa Confederations Cup and the 2010 Fifa World Cup, wherein both teachers and pupils will learn more about the various national teams that will participate during the tournaments.
To be run by the 2010 local organising committee (LOC) in partnership with the national departments of education and sport, the campaign is targeting over 12-million scholars from over 30 000 schools throughout the country.
“Our aim is to make this global event, located here in South Africa, appeal to every province and city across the country and the continent,” LOC chairperson Irvin Khoza said at the campaign’s launch in Johannesburg this week.
He said that schools had been identified as the primary vehicle to get the World Cup message across to not only children, but families and communities around the country.
“Our schools have a vital role to whet the appetite for the world’s showcase football events – next year’s Fifa Confederations Cup and the first African Fifa World Cup in 2010 – and we want every pupil in this country to be part of these historic events,” said Khoza.
My 2010 school adventure
The campaign is part of the “My 2010 School Adventure” project, which focuses on the three key pillars of education, development (sports skills and coaching) and participation in regional and nationwide schools football tournaments.
In the first phase, the pupils and teachers will as part of their school curriculum, learn more about the teams participating at next year’s Confederations Cup and build relationships with schools in the countries who have qualified.
Schools have already been playing in provincial schools tournaments and the winning teams from all provinces will play in the schools Confederations Cup finals in March next year – standing a chance to win tickets to the tournament proper.
The Fifa Confederations Cup, held from 14 to 28 June 2009, also known as the “Festival of Champions”, features the current champions of the six Fifa Confederations, reigning world champions and the hosts, namely Brazil, Egypt, Iraq, Italy, New Zealand, Spain, United States and hosts South Africa.
From September 2008 to January 2009, pupils from across the country will work on creative elements such as essays, poetry, art projects, music and dance performances relating to the Confederations Cup, with the winning submissions also standing a chance to win tickets for the Confederations Cup 2009 and 2010 World Cup.
Another aspect of the campaign is that thousands of teachers will also be given specialised coaching courses in an effort to improve the standard of schools football.
“It is of major importance for our scholars – the future of our nation – to learn about the cultures and history of other countries, and what better way than to include them through a progressive programme such as ‘Adopt a Nation’ which will empower our young academics with knowledge that will stand them in good stead in years to come,” said Education Minister Naledi Pandor.
Ambassadors and representatives from the eight Fifa Confederations Cup nations joined in the launch festivities, at which South Africa’s nine provinces symbolically “adopted” each one of the eight participants.
The Official 2010 Fifa World Cup mascot Zakumi, who quickly gained popularity after his worldwide debut last week, was also on hand to entertain hundreds of school pupils at the launch event.
“The ‘Adopt a Nation’ programme is a venture that will revolutionise sport and education in South Africa ahead of world class football tournaments,” said Sport and Recreation Minister Makhenkesi Stofile. “We trust that pupil’s aspirations on the sport and academic fronts will be taken to new heights as a result of their involvement in the programme.”