6 July 2010
While South Africa is out of the running for 2010 World Cup glory, the country has still made it into the history books and now boasts the title of creator of the world’s biggest soccer ball.
Standing an impressive 15.66 metres high and weighing a mammoth 650 kilograms, the soccer ball was officially recognised as the world’s largest by the Guinness World Records at Emperor’s Palace, near Johannesburg’s OR Tambo International Airport, on Monday.
Robert Molloy, an adjudicator from Guinness World Records, closely inspected the ball and made sure it met all the requirements, before declaring to a jubilant crowd that is was indeed the biggest in the world.
According to Molloy, South Africa’s huge soccer ball surpassed Sudan’s 10.5-metre ball, which was the previous record holder.
Molloy inspected the ball to ensure that it was inflatable and deflatable; could be kicked and rolled; and that it was an exact replica of a Fifa soccer ball – all requirements for the world record.
After a nervous few minutes, he announced that the construction of the ball had met with the strict guidelines set down by Guinness and that South Africa was the new record holder.
He said the massive soccer ball was an “amazing addition” to what had already been a wonderful World Cup.
“With a ball that size, maybe even the England goalkeeper will be able to save it,” Molloy joked.
The world’s biggest soccer ball is 70 times the size of the Jabulani ball currently being used in the World Cup and 1 500 times heavier. The ball takes two hours to inflate and it takes 550 metres of strap to secure the ball.
It is an exact replica of the 1970 Adidas Telstar ball and was constructed of mostly local materials.
The massive ball was an initiative of Emperor’s Palace and Kia.
CEO of Kia Motors South Africa Ray Levine said the ball had been created to wow football fans and put South Africa on the world map with the world record.
Bob Yearham, chief operating officer of Emperors Palace, thanked everyone who contributed to making South Africa’s World Cup a success.
“I don’t know what people are going to do after Sunday when there is no soccer to watch on TV. Some might go into depression with no soccer, but it has been great,” he said.