With just a few months left until the FIFA Confederations Cup, taking place from 14 June to 28 June 2009, it is important that the people of South Africa stick their hands up and become involved in South Africa's bid to host a spectacular tournament. It is about asking yourself, ‘how can I be a good host?' when the teams and fans descend on South Africa.
With the launch of the 2010 FIFA World Cup Organising Committee's (OC) volunteer programme interviews in January, the opportunity to be involved arrived for 6000 hopeful volunteer candidates who will be whittled down to a 4000 strong team.
For the OC's Volunteer Manager, Onke Mjo, the commencement of the interview process is one of many important steps leading up to 2010. "It is a key milestone for us, without the volunteers we would not be able to host a successful tournament, their contribution is paramount".
With close to 40,000 South Africans applying for the 4000 volunteer positions available for the FIFA Confederations Cup, Mjo is happy with the response of South African's across the country. "We can see that South African's are supporting us, they want to be involved," said Mjo.
The interviews, which are continuing until 19 February 2009, are taking place in various centres in and around Johannesburg, Bloemfontein/Mangaung, Rustenburg and Pretoria/Tshwane.
For the preselected volunteers attending the interviews nothing would be better than to be selected as one of the 4000 strong volunteer team for the FIFA Confederations Cup.
"I want to serve my country, I want to be part of history and I want to show the world that we have something to offer," said Eugenia Amayaw, a volunteer hopeful who was waiting patiently in line in Sandton for her turn to be interviewed by the panel.
Amayaw completed an MBA in England and travelled the world but for her South Africa is the place to be. "Good things are going on here, there is a great future for South Africa and the World Cup is a big part of this future," said the Johannesburg based utilities manager, who is planning to take leave to carry out her volunteer duties if selected.
For another hopeful volunteer, Thapelo Debele, being a part of the Confederations Cup, and hopefully the FIFA World Cup, would be an achievement like no other. "I want to be there for my country. I want to be able to shape the world view on South Africa and be part of this event that means so much for the country".
At the Braamfontein Recreation Centre in downtown Johannesburg, preselected volunteer candidates have been streaming in since interviews began. Inside one of the three interview rooms OC Volunteer Coordinator Hermaan Beegte tries to relax the candidates, reminding them that this is not a job interview. But despite his assurances it is clear that for the candidates are desperate to impress the panel.
"I want to be part of hosting the tournament because if I am actually involved I will feel as it I own it and when it's a success I can say, we did that," said one of the candidates in answer to the question of why she had chosen to volunteer to assist with ticketing.
"I think that working on this world-class event will give me amazing experience," said a young IT professional, while a bank clerk said he thrived on new challenges and on being able to serve others.
Volunteers are needed to assist both the OC and the host cities in a number of areas including assisting with accreditation, working with the media, welcoming visitors at the airport, ushering spectators to their seats and assisting in the ticketing process.
"The candidates selected which area they want to be involved in but during the interview we may decide that they are more suitable for another function," explains Beegte. "When we interview the candidates we make a point of getting them to speak from the heart. Their passion is in many ways more important than what they can tell us about themselves on paper, because if you are passionate and willing you can learn."
Training for successful candidate's takes place over two weekends in March and volunteers will be required on site from 15 May.