22 September 2009
South Africa’s national football team put their weight behind the Football Fridays initiative during a visit to Tetlanyo High School in Galeshewe, a township in Kimberley, capital of the Northern Cape province, on Friday.
Bafana Bafana visited the Kimberley school in “Football Fridays” style ahead of their international friendly against Madagascar on Saturday.
The players engaged with the school children at their assembly and during class visits, where autographs were signed and football mementos handed out. The school was attended by Bafana Bafana striker Richard Henyekane.
With less than 40 Fridays to go before the 2010 Fifa World Cup, the squad encouraged all South Africans to “play for Team South Africa” by participating in the Football Fridays initiative.
Launched on 4 September, the initiative encourages South Africans to wear a football shirt every Friday in the build-up to Africa’s first football World Cup, which kicks off on the ultimate Football Friday, 11 June 2010.
“Walk it, talk it, wear it, share it!” says Paul Bannister, acting CEO of the International Marketing Council of South Africa (IMC), custodian of Brand South Africa and one of the organisations behind the initiative. “It’s all about soccer – and being part of the same team: Team South Africa.”
The initiative also aims to mobilise South Africans to be the best hosts they can be, pulling together to deliver the best World Cup ever, both on and off the field.
“If the mood takes you, and you feel like you would like to go a step further, drive the nation-building vibe by flying your South African flag, learning the words of the national anthem, trying the Diski Dance, and making some noise – vuvuzela-style – in support of our African home teams,” says the IMC.
Together with the IMC, the initiative is being jointly driven by the country’s major 2010 partners, including the 2010 Fifa World Cup SA Organising Committee, the Government Communication and Information System (GCIS), South African Tourism and the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC).
Bannister said that as events, audiences and 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.”
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