Three of Europe’s top soccer players are in South Africa to show their confidence in the country’s ability to host the 2010 FIFA World Cup. The three stars, Owen Hargreaves, Piotr Trochowski and Philipp Lahm, are attending a press conference and a tour of two Johannesburg 2010 soccer stadiums organised by the International Marketing Council (IMC) of South Africa (responsible for Brand South Africa) in consultation with the organisation that so successfully branded Germany during the last World Cup in 2006: Germany – Land of Ideas, and the City of Johannesburg.
The three players flew into South Africa on Sunday and will be in the country until 16 June, during which time they will be involved in charity work, including soccer clinics.
“Germany hosted the most successful FIFA World Cup to date. At this stage South Africa is ahead of where Germany was in its preparations. This gives us the confidence to say that our aim is to do even better than the Germans,” says Kheepe Moremi, Marketing Director of the IMC speaking at the press conference.
‘We’ve done it before and will do it again in 2010′ is the rallying call of Brand South Africa’s drive to build optimism in South Africa and the world.
Mike de Vries, who heads up Germany: Land of Ideas, stressed the enormous opportunities that 2010 will present to South Africa. “We managed to make Germans proud of their country. We also got foreigners to look differently at our country. They now see us as efficient and friendly. You can do the same and our visit here is to underline our confidence in your ability.”
The IMC will be flighting an advertising campaign on both TV and radio to stress the essential message the visit by these soccer stars is bringing: South Africa has been there, done that and is more than ready to do it again.
The campaign kicks off on June 16, Youth Day, the day when the young people of South Africa showed that what, for many people seems to be impossible, is in fact possible. The Soweto Uprising, commemorated on June 16, is widely seen as the first signs of the crumbling of apartheid.
To emphasise the reality that South Africa ‘has done it before and can do it again’, the IMC has drawn in the City of Johannesburg, which will take the soccer stars to two stadiums which are being rebuilt for 2010 and show them how far the process is. The first stop, Orlando Stadium (which will be a training ground in 2010) was included on the players’ programme to showcase the tremendous spin-offs 2010 will have through the City’s legacy projects. The second stop will be Soccer City, where the soccer stars will have a chance to kick a football – between workers and bulldozers rebuilding the stadium.
“Johannesburg is a true example of heeding the call “we have done it before and can do it again”, says Sibongile Mazibuko, Executive Director of 2010 at the City of Johannesburg.
“If you think back, the City of Johannesburg did most of the hosting for the Rugby and Cricket World Cups and the World Summit for Sustainable Development. We will be the most prominent city in 2010 – hosting the opening ceremony and the final match of the tournament, as well as a number of games in between these major events,” she notes.
The guests spent part of the morning at SAFA House, where Danny Jordaan, CEO of the 2010 FIFA World Cup Local Organising Committee, welcomed the stars, expanding on the state of readiness in South Africa and expressing confidence in the country’s ability to host the best FIFA World Cup ever.
“These three stars are kicking soccer balls in South Africa today – and will be back here in 2010 to see magnificently completed stadiums and a proud and united South Africa after showing the world, and each other, that we’ve done it before and can do it again”, says the IMC’s Moremi.
The three soccer stars visiting South Africa are:
§ Owen Hargreaves will be joining Manchester United on 1 July after almost a year of negotiations between his current club, Bayern Munich, and United for a fee of around R240m.
§ Piotr Trochowski currently plays as an attacking midfielder for German club Hamburger SV, where he’s proved his worth after helping the club reach the Champions League; as well as Germany’s national team.
§ Philipp Lahm currently plays as a defender for Bayern Munich where he is considered one of the best young fullbacks in the world. He was nominated for the FIFA World Player of the Year 2006 after exceptional play, including scoring the opening goal of the 2006 FIFA World Cup.
Issued by Meropa Communications on behalf of the International Marketing Council of South Africa. For more information, please contact Tumelo Kumalo, IMC Media Relations
Telephone: 011 483 0122/ 073 933 8802
Claire Taylor, Meropa Communications
Telephone: 011 772 1000/ 072 341 3898