2010 volunteer drive kicks off

A group of Fifa Confederations Cup
volunteers. Filled with the excitement and
spirit of this year’s tournament, each of
these candidates will re-apply to volunteer
during the 2010 Fifa World Cup.

Percy Maboane, 32, was a media
volunteer during the Confederations Cup.
He says his volunteering experience “will
be glued in my memory forever”.

Chris Bussey, 49, partially shut down his
vehicle security business so he could help
in the afternoons during the
Confederations Cup.

Nannikie Mogwashwa, 23, and Carlos
Jackson, 31, say they’re hooked on the
South African World Cup story and both
agree that volunteering during the
Confederations Cup was a life-changing
experience.

MediaClubSouthAfrica.com reporter

Applications have opened for the 15 000 volunteers who will help make the 2010 Fifa World Cup a world-class event.

The long-awaited football spectacular kicks off on 11 June 2010 for the first time ever on African soil. For an entire month fans will closely follow the success or misfortune of the 32 teams taking part. There are 10 stadiums in cities all over South Africa. Some venues, such as the Nelson Mandela stadium in Port Elizabeth and the Green Point stadium in Cape Town, have been built from scratch, specifically for next year’s event.

Volunteering at such a prestigious event is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and applications will be accepted from 20 July until 31 August 2009.

“The volunteer programme is an excellent way to get involved in South Africa and Africa’s hosting of the world’s biggest sporting event,” said Dr Danny Jordaan, head of the World Cup local organising committee (LOC), at the launch of the volunteer drive.

“From ushering people to their seats, to assisting the media and foreign language speakers, welcoming people at the airport and driving guests around, it is the volunteers who actually make the tournament happen.”

Who qualifies?

The 2010 volunteer programme is open to anyone, anywhere in the world, who will be 18 years or older on 1 March 2010. Applicants must have finished school, have a valid passport or a South African identity document and a strong command of English. The LOC has allocated 10% of the places to international applicants, 10% to candidates from Africa, and the remaining 80% to South Africans.

Application forms can be downloaded at www.fifa.com/worldcup/organisation/volunteers and submitted online. For those South Africans who don’t have access to the internet, Fifa’s website lists a number of venues around the country where applicants can apply in person. The LOC has also deployed mobile internet-enabled units that will travel around the country to assist would-be volunteers with the application process.

For more information on the venues or programme, applicants can call the volunteer hotline on 0800 52 52 52 (toll free in South Africa) or email volunteerprogramme@2010oc.com.

The LOC is looking for two types of volunteers: the specialist volunteer will have a specific skill in language, media, information technology or other relevant field, while the general volunteer will serve as Fifa’s representative in areas such as transport, administration, hospitality, or spectator services.

Age or social status is no barrier. Fifa and the LOC will select volunteers from all age groups – these will include professionals from different fields, students, unemployed youth, and retirees. Disabled people are also free to apply.

Once their forms have been submitted, applicants will receive confirmation that Fifa has received their documentation. After this a pre-selection process takes place, where the LOC or host city representative will phone candidates and ask them to attend an interview.

Interviews of foreign pre-selected volunteers will be done over the phone.

This pre-selection will take place towards the end of the year and interviews will be done in January and February 2010. If applicants have not received a call by 31 January 2010, they can assume their application was unsuccessful.

Overwhelming response

South Africa has just hosted a successful Confederations Cup, which saw more than 4 000 South African volunteers selected from 20 000 applications.

Applications poured in from all areas of the country and from all levels of society. The youngest volunteer during this tournament was 18 and the oldest was 78.

Jordaan was delighted at the overwhelming response. “It really shows that South Africans are very supportive and willing to roll up their sleeves and get involved to ensure the success of the Confederations Cup and the 2010 Fifa World Cup,” he said.

He praised those who gave their time, saying that they exceeded all expectations with regard to sacrifice, enthusiasm and commitment.

In calling for the new set of volunteers, Jordaan asked applicants to honour the spirit of “the greatest volunteer in the world”, Nelson Mandela. Just recently Mandela appealed to South Africans to donate 67 minutes of their time to a community-based project on his 91st birthday on 18 July 2009. Sixty-seven represents the number of years the former South African president has been involved in serving humanity.

“Without dedicated and committed volunteers, who are willing to give of their time to help others, South Africa would not be able to host this tournament, which seeks to entrench the legacy left by Nelson Mandela,” Jordaan added.

‘Life-changing experience’

Percy Maboane, a 32-year-old freelance television director from Orange Farm in Johannesburg, said a strong sense of patriotism prompted him to become a Confederations Cup volunteer.

“Events such as the South Africa-hosted Confederations Cup and World Cup come around once in a lifetime and think it’s so important to be involved in showing the world we can pull them off. As a media volunteer during the Confed Cup I helped to coordinate photographers on the pitch and got to work with camera crews and radio reporters from around the world. By doing this I felt was an asset to the country. It’s not all about the money – as we worked without pay – what matters most to me is the mark that I made. My volunteering experience will be glued in my memory forever.”

For 49-year-old Chris Bussey, the desire to become a volunteer during the Confederations Cup was so strong, he partially shut down his vehicle security business so he could help in the afternoons during the tournament.

“Overall I volunteered for 17 days of the 21-day tournament. My shifts were from 1pm to 2am. As a transport volunteer I was responsible for driving around Fifa delegates, Organising Committee guests and the media. For me it was a great opportunity to meet and talk to people from all over the world and to be of assistance to them. I’ll never forget the buzz at the stadiums as the fans arrived, the people talking excitedly, the warm reception they got from the stewards and ushers, and the sound of the vuvuzelas.

I’m already encouraging people – including my daughter – to volunteer for 2010 as it’s a fantastic experience,” Bussey adds.

Twenty-three-year-old accreditation volunteer Nannikie Mogwashwa agrees.

“I decided to volunteer after I heard the programme advertised on the radio and thought it was something I’d really like to get involved in.

“During the tournament I organised passes and had to make sure that teams had their schedules, that they were fed and that team spirit was high at all times. Now I’m hooked. After the Confederations Cup I volunteered for the British and Irish Lions and the Vodacom Challenge.

“Volunteering is an amazing way to meet dynamic, interesting people and a unique opportunity to see South Africa through other people’s eyes.”

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