Once in a lifetime experience

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Pretoria - Imagine the thrill of standing beside a football star, feeling the roar of the crowds in front of millions of fans - all at the age of ten.

This will be a reality for Nkululeko Nkomo, who lives in Naledi Ext 2, Soweto. He is one of the lucky few who will be walking down the soccer pitch with soccer stars for a match between Argentina and South Korea at Johannesburg's Soccer City next Thursday.

He is one of the 1 408 lucky South African children chosen to be part of the McDonald's Player Escort program.

The programme provides an opportunity for children from across the world - aged six to 10 - to walk hand-in-hand onto the pitch with their football heroes at the 2010 FIFA World Cup.

Little Nkululeko can't wait for the moment. "I am very, very happy," the grade five learner from Reboni Primary School told BuaNews.

"I'm going to greet the players with a broad smile as a way of welcoming them in my country," he said.

His equally excited mum, Sonto Nkomo, said she was proud of her son. "When we got the call that he was chosen, we were very excited. Though he brags about it to his friends, he still can't believe it."

Nkomo says her little boy on a number of occasions, has asked if they can go to McDonalds to verify if he is indeed chosen.

"I'm very proud because he is not only representing his school but the whole of South Africa."

The youngster said he loved Bafana Bafana and his favourite player was Teko Modise.

"When I grow up, I want to be famous and play soccer on TV just like Teko," he said.

His mother said it was an opportunity of a lifetime for her son. "We couldn't afford tickets to the stadium but my son has been offered a once in a life time opportunity."

However, she will not be able to watch him walk out on the field as she has also signed up to do volunteer work during the 2010 World Cup.

"My whole family is feeling and experiencing the World Cup. We couldn't have asked for anything more ... we know that we are contributing to the history of this country," she said.