Play for Team SA on Football Fridays!

The Fridays are fast ticking down until the 2010 Fifa World Cup kick-off, and South Africans are being urged to mark each one by “dressing down” in a way that will come naturally to a sports-crazy population – by wearing a football shirt to work (or play).

What is Football Fridays?

It’s a call to all South Africans to get behind the 2010 Fifa World Cup:

  • To start getting excited about the biggest sporting show on the planet – arriving on African soil for the first time on Friday, 11 June 2010.
  • To start supporting the African team that will run out onto the pitch at Johannesburg’s Soccer City Stadium on that day – Bafana Bafana.
  • To start getting ready to welcome hundreds of thousands of travelling football fans, and hundreds of millions of television viewers, to the southern tip of Africa.

What should I do for Football Fridays?

Wear a football shirt to work (or play) on Friday – every Friday between now and the start of the 2010 Fifa World Cup on Friday, 11 June 2010.

Got that sorted? Now go have some fun:

  • Wear one, tell your friends to wear one, tell your work colleagues to wear one, tell your kids to wear one. Kids, tell your parents to wear one. Get one for your dog to wear.
  • Get interested. Get excited. Get talking – about the team whose shirt you’re wearing. About your favourite players. About football …

Because it’s all about football. And being part of the same team: Team South Africa.

Anything else I should be doing?

Don’t let us hold you back! We want to show the world what Team South Africa is about. So: wear a makarapa. Blow a vuvuzela. Fly the South African flag. Practise singing the South African anthem. Get ready to be a good host in 2010!

Can I wear any football shirt?

Yes. Obviously, we’d prefer it if it were a Bafana Bafana shirt. But whether it displays the colours of the national team or of Kaizer Chiefs, Orlando Pirates, Real Madrid or Man United, by wearing it each Friday, you’ll be showing your true colours as a supporter of South Africa 2010.

Why Football Fridays?

Because as events go, as audience goes, as media coverage goes, it doesn’t come bigger than the football World Cup. Pulling it off is going to take a Team South Africa effort.

And because we won’t get another chance like this to show the world that we can. That Africa is not just about war, disease, poverty or crime. That we’re a country and a continent that’s alive with warmth, energy, resources, resourcefulness, resilience, ambition, ubuntu. Possibility.

Who’s behind Football Fridays?

Football Fridays is a joint initiative of the country’s major 2010 partners:

Where did the idea come from?

According to Wikipedia, Casual Friday (or Dress-down Friday, or simply Casual Day) is “an American and Canadian custom which has spread to other parts of the world, wherein some offices celebrate a semi-reprieve from the constrictions of a formal dress code.”

South Africa celebrates Casual Day on the first Friday of September each year (coinciding with the arrival of Spring) as a way of raising money, awareness and support for people with disabilities.

On 24 April 2009, South African hotel group Southern Sun launched Football Fun Days, encouraging its 6 000 staff members to don their favourite football jersey every Friday, in order to “start ‘living’ the message that soon we will be hosting the world’s largest football event.”

In August 2009, at the 2010 National Communication Partnership conference in Johannesburg, South Africa’s major 2010 partners acknowledged the power and simplicity of Southern Sun’s initiative, and decided to take it national, under the banner of the Fly the Flag for Football campaign that was launched in April.

Speaking at the conference, 2010 Organising Committee chairman Irvin Khoza urged South Africans to appreciate the enormity of the World Cup, and to make the most of the event to promote the country and the continent in all its energy and diversity.

“Think of the tournament as a 30-day commercial for South Africa,” Khoza said. “A 30-day television commercial to be watched by a cumulative audience of billions around the globe. This is the scale of the opportunity for South Africans to present this country effectively and proactively.”

Now it’s up to us – each one of us – to determine how strong the message, how powerful the impact, of our “30-day commercial”.

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