South Africa's 'unsung heroes' came out in their numbers for one last time as volunteers from across South Africa rejoiced at their significant contribution to South Africa and the success of the FIFA Confederations Cup.
Although it was a time to celebrate as volunteers from the four host cities attended 'thank you' lunches over the weekend, next year's 2010 FIFA World Cup™ was definitely on their minds.
With volunteer applications opening on 20 July, the selfless FIFA Confederations Cup volunteers are more than willing to come back for Africa's first FIFA World Cup. With 15,000 volunteers now required, they are encouraging their fellow South Africans to sign up as well.
"The only thing I can say is, please apply, you will have such a great time and will definitely not regret the choice. During my time as a volunteer I gained a lot of experience having to deal with people from different cultures and backgrounds. I have since gained a lot of confidence from this," said Violet Letsoalo who worked as a spectator services volunteer.
For Roshan Bhana, who worked in the accreditation department, being a volunteer is all about serving his country and he hopes other South Africans will put their hands up and become volunteers on 20 July. "Individuals make this country, to serve your country selflessly is the best thing that you can do. I would recommend it to anyone. Being part of the tournament was extraordinary."
Tshidiso Ntshabele cannot stress enough how important he feels it is for his fellow South Africans to sign up as volunteers for the 2010 FIFA World Cup.
"Africa as a continent proved to the whole world that what we can do and I am very proud of myself for the contribution I have made," said Ntshabele who hopes to be a volunteer again next year.
For the man at the helm of the 2010 FIFA World Cup campaign, Dr Danny Jordaan, the volunteers have shown the world what South Africa, and indeed Africa, is all about.
"It is those that have less that give more and those that have nothing give the most. If you go around the country you will see this spirit of community and this is the essence of what kind of South Africa we want to build from this. This country will be great if more people like you continue to do this, to contribute to the success of the country," said Jordaan who attended both the Johannesburg and the Tshwane/Pretoria volunteer lunches.
For Jordaan it is the volunteers, as the public face of the 2010 FIFA World Cup, that will make the tournament a huge success.
"When people ask me what will be the difference between this World Cup and the one in Germany I tell them it will be the people. In Germany there was a programme to teach the volunteers to smile, I said we do not need that. When we are born, we are born with a smile."
Volunteer applications can be made through FIFA.com from 20 July 2009.