Thousands of South Africans, all hoping for the chance to be part of the 2010 FIFA World Cup™, gathered at venues throughout South Africa this week as the final interviews for volunteers for the tournament got into full swing.
For many it was an opportunity to show how their skills could be put to use during the tournament while for others it was simply about being part of South Africa’s history.
In Johannesburg hundreds of volunteer hopefuls braved the rain to visit the 2010 FIFA World Cup Organising Committee’s (OC) Sandton offices.
Fifty-four year old Johannesburg based cleaner Maria Masegela said she could not pass up the opportunity to apply to be part of the World Cup.
“I decided to volunteer because I recognised that if my country can do it I can also do it. I want to welcome the people to South Africa. I love making people feel at home,” she said.
Masegela said she believed the World Cup would leave a legacy of excellence for future generations of South Africans.
“What will be left behind is a history which will ensure that those who are growing up and even those who are not here yet will want to meet the standard set. In fact I think they will want to do more and the World Cup will be the source of that.”
People of all ages and backgrounds faced a panel made up of OC staff as they tried to pick the 15 000 who would be the face of South Africa in June and July.
Many of those who have applied for the volunteer programme have a long history of giving their time in aid of their communities.
Part-time Radio DJ and student, Bonalo Matjeke (21) who volunteers for an organisation working with underprivileged youth, said she was looking forward to meeting people from all walks of life.
“I think it is important that this happens so we can unite and experience the different and diverse cultures and personalities that exist in South Africa.”
The 2010 FIFA World Cup Volunteer application process was opened on 20 July 2009 when the OC began the process of recruiting the 15 000 volunteers required for the tournament and the Football for Hope Festival 2010 in Alexandria Johannesburg from June 27 to July 12.
OC Chief Executive Officer, Dr Danny Jordaan, said the volunteer process has proven to be a great success.
“Once the interviews have been completed we will have the necessary information to choose the best people to represent our country. Volunteers are the kind of people who freely give of their time for the benefit of others and not themselves. We must be grateful that so many people from all over the world and at home here in South Africa have heeded our call for help.”
The successful South African volunteers chosen from this interview process will then be taken through extensive training in March and April in all nine of the host cities of the 2010 FIFA World Cup.
Interviews started as early as 11 January in some host cities and will continue until 26 February.