SA's 15 metre soccer ball a world's first

Monday, July 5, 2010

Johannesburg - South Africa may be out of the 2010 World Cup but the country still made it into the history books on Monday, proudly boasting the title of the creator of the world's biggest soccer ball.

Standing at an impressive 15.66 metres and weighing a mammoth 650 kilograms, the soccer ball was officially recognised as the world's largest by the Guinness World Records at Emperor's Palace on Monday.

Robert Molloy, an adjudicator from Guinness World Records, closely inspected the ball and made sure it met all the requirements, before declaring to a jubilant crowd that is was indeed the biggest in the world.

According to Molloy, South Africa's huge soccer ball surpassed Sudan's 10.5 metre ball which was the previous record holder.

Molloy inspected the ball to ensure that it was inflatable and deflatable; could be kicked and rolled; and was an exact replica of a FIFA soccer ball - all requirements for the world record.

After a nervous few minutes, he announced that the construction of the ball had met with Guinness strict guidelines and that South Africa was the new record holder.

He said the massive soccer ball was an "amazing addition" to what had already been a wonderful World Cup.

'With a ball that size maybe even the England goal keeper will be able to save it," Molloy joked.

The world's biggest soccer ball is 70 times the size of the Jabulani ball currently being used in the World Cup and 1500 times heavier. The ball takes two hours to inflate and it takes 550 metres of strap to secure the ball.

It is the exact replica of the 1970 Adidas Telstar ball and was constructed of mostly local materials

The massive ball was an initiative of Emperor's Palace and KIA.

CEO of KIA Motors South Africa, Ray Levine, said the ball had been created to wow soccer fans and put South Africa on the world map with the world record.

Bob Yearham, Chief Operating Officer of Emperors Palace thanked everyone who contributed to making South Africa's World Cup a success.

"I don't know what people are going to do after Sunday when there is no soccer to watch on TV. Some might go into depression with no soccer but it has been great," he added.

The KIA Street Soccer programme, which gave 4000 South African children the opportunity to attend a World Cup match and participate in street soccer, also benefited yesterday when the programme was given a cheque of R25 000 by KIA and Emperor's Palace.