Motlanthe "kicks" up a stir at Union Buildings

Friday, June 4, 2010

Pretoria - You would have been forgiven for thinking that a Bafana Bafana match was in full swing at the Union Buildings on Friday.

Vuvuzelas, South African flags, and the green and gold of the national soccer team dominated the lawns of the Union Buildings.

But the supporters were not there for the likes of Steve Pienaar, Matthew Booth or Siphiwe Tshabalala.

Instead, it was the name of the country's Deputy President and ministers that the crowds shouted during a six-a-side soccer tournament.

Ministers swapped their suits for soccer kits and took to the field in celebration of the final Football Friday before the 2010 FIFA World Cup.

Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe caused quite a stir as he walked down the stairs of the Union Buildings, dressed in black and white shorts, a t-shirt and soccer boots.

Before the festivities got underway Motlanthe told the jubilant crowd that he and FIFA President Sepp Blatter had reached an agreement regarding the World Cup trophy.

"In order for FIFA to save on the cost of transporting the trophy to other countries we agreed that the trophy will stay here," he joked.

The deputy president also honoured "legends of the game" that were at the Union Buildings yesterday.

He added that Football Friday had been launched with the goal of mobilising the public to get behind Bafana Bafana and popularise the national flag.

That goal had been achieved and surpassed, Motlanthe said.

"From today until the end of the tournament everyday will be like a Football Friday," he said.
The deputy president declared South Africa and Bafana Bafana ready for the World Cup.

"I hope on 11 July, Bafana Bafana will do us proud and that the captain of the national team will lift the trophy," he added.

On the pitch, the deputy president was on the winning team.

He showed off his skills on a team that included Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi, Minister of Mining Susan Shabangu and Deputy Police Minister Fikile Mbalula in the first match of the day.

Motlanthe's team went up against a team that included Science and Technology Minister Naledi Pandor and Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa.

The deputy president's team won by a goal but it was just the first match of the day.

"I hope the ambulance is around so that those of us who pull muscles can be carried off," Motlanthe joked.