Get the soccer party started

Monday, March 1, 2010

Johannesburg - Blow the Vuvuzela, Fly the Flag, sing the National Anthem! This is a call to all South Africans to mark 100 days to the 2010 FIFA World Cup on Tuesday.

Already, some companies are heeding the call and are planning big parties on the day, reports

Taking the lead is South African Tourism, which has hooked up with the Johannesburg Tourism Company to celebrate the 100-day mark. Phumulani Hlathswayo, an events manager at the national group, says they plan to bring Sandton to a standstill.

"Two branded buses will leave the South African Tourism offices for a tour around Sandton. The tour will end in Maud Street, where a street party will take place. Here, Diski Dancers will entertain and teach people to do the Diski Dance."

The Diski Dance, inspired by South Africa's rhythm and unique football style, is a South African Tourism creation and the company's contribution to the Fly the Flag campaign. It comprises five moves: the juggle, header, Table Mountain, trepa and the bridge.

People will be encouraged to blow their vuvuzelas, fly the South African flag and sing the national anthem. Packets of snacks, flags and booklets will be handed out, according to Hlatshwayo.

"The whole point is to get everybody excited about the World Cup; to teach people to be welcoming to visitors during the event. Everyone is welcome."

The day will also be used as part of Fly the Flag to rally South Africans and instil a sense of national pride around the World Cup.

This campaign, launched in 2009, is supported by the 2010 FIFA World Cup Organising Committee South Africa (OC) and the South African government.

At 12 noon sharp, the national anthem will be sung, ending the official proceedings in Sandton.

At Cresta Shopping Centre, to the northwest, a similar event is planned. Here, mall employees will take part in Fly the Flag, according to Tarryne Rautenbach, the manager marketing: internal communications the shopping centre.

"The event will start at 12 noon with the singing of the national anthem. Diski Dancers will also be on hand to teach people how to dance. Police personnel from a nearby police station will also join us."

Even though this is an internal event, Rautenbach says everyone is welcome to join in the festivities, which will be held in the amphitheatre near The Spur restaurant.

To get the party started, the mall is encouraging staff members to wear their soccer jerseys, she says. "We want to get the 2010 World Cup vibe going."

FIFA has also announced that to mark 100 Days to the World Cup, a tour of all nine host cities and 10 stadiums will be done, starting today. The tour will be led by the OC's chief executive, Danny Jordaan, and the FIFA secretary, Jerome Valcke.

The purpose of the tour is to show to the media the readiness of all venues and related infrastructure, and for cities and provinces to give a comprehensive update to invited guests, including the chairperson of the Portfolio Committee on Sports and Recreation, Butana Kompela, of their detailed plans for fans.

The first stop of the road show is Ellis Park Stadium in eastern Johannesburg, where Executive Mayor Amos Masondo and Gauteng Premier Nomvula Mokonyane will welcome guests.

The 62 000-seat stadium successfully hosted the 2009 FIFA Confederation Cup finals and is the venue for seven World Cup matches, including a quarterfinal.

On the same day, the delegation will go to Soccer City Stadium in Nasrec. The giant stadium, which has been extensively renovated to seat 90 200 people, is complete and will be handed over to FIFA on 3 March.

The original stadium, known as FNB Stadium before it was upgraded, is where Bafana Bafana clinched their first and only African Cup of Nations trophy in 1996.

This winning team, affectionately known as the "Class of 1996", will attend the stadium tour.

The delegation will move on to Loftus Versfeld Stadium in Pretoria, winding up at Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban, where the official 100 Days to the 2010 World Cup celebrations will be held.

Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe, FIFA president Sepp Blatter and OC chairman Irvin Khoza are expected to join in the celebrations.