South Africa: time to ignite 2010!

9 June 2009

Thursday 11 June 2009 marks one year to kick-off of the 2010 Fifa World Cup, and Brand South Africa is calling on all South Africans to wear a football jersey (preferably a Bafana Bafana one!) or a yellow shirt, to fly the South African flag and – at exactly 16h00 – to blow a vuvuzela and sing the national anthem.

The opening ceremony, followed by the first match, of the 2010 Fifa World Cup kicks off at Soccer City, Johannesburg at 4pm on 11 June 2010. Expect a sea of yellow – South Africa, as hosts, will play in the opening match, and yellow will be the dominant colour of Bafana Bafana’s World Cup kit.

On Thursday at 15h55, a five-minute count-down will begin on radio stations across the country to cue all South Africans, wherever they are, to sing Nkosi Sikelel’ iAfrika at 16h00 in a symbolic demonstration of national unity and pride.

President Jacob Zuma will join a crowd of football fans at Green Point Stadium in Cape Town, where the national anthem will be sung and, at exactly 4pm, a soccer ball will be kicked to mark the one-year countdown to the first World Cup to be staged on the African continent.

Paul Bannister, acting chief executive of the International Marketing Council of SA, custodian of Brand South Africa, said the aim was to celebrate one year to kick-off, and to serve as a point of ignition for the tournament.

“It is also an act of national pride in, and support of, our country as Africa’s first host of this prestigious tournament,” Bannister said in a statement on Tuesday.

“With the Bulls’ Super 14 victory fresh in our minds, the IPL cricketing extravaganza successfully behind us, the British and Irish Lions clash in play and the Confederations Cup literally only hours away, South Africa’s sports buzz is infectious.”

According to Bannister, there is a subtle but vital difference between being a good host and being a great one.

“The magic underpinning being great lies in our people, who are able to provide event viewers and visitors with the contagious, edge-of-your-seat buzz and a taste of the competitive spirit to come, while making them feel truly ‘at home’ in South Africa.”

It is up to all South Africans to rally together, Bannister said.

“We encourage every South African, whether you are in Johannesburg, Cape Town, Sydney, Toronto or London, to join us as we mark an important milestone in our nation’s history.

“This is an easy and fun way for us to let the world know that we are lighting the touch paper for the 2010 World Cup.”

SAinfo reporter

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