The 2009 FIFA Confederations Cup may only be taking place from 14 June to 28 June 2009, but a tiny school in the west of Johannesburg have already held their own Confederations Cup on their school grounds.
There are not too many people on the planet who haven't heard about the FIFA World Cup™, but FIFA have also placed great emphasis on the importance of the FIFA Confederations Cup 2009.
South Africa's 2010 Organising Committee is actively
promoting the Confederations Cup, which has been billed as the
"festival of champions".
So, it came as a welcome surprise when the staff and 400 or so pupils of St Theresa Primary in Coronationville, Johannesburg, recently used the Confederations Cup as the theme for the school's annual sports day - complete with a procession of the flags and the playing of the anthems of the countries that have qualified for the tournament to date.
Being held from June 14 to June 28 2009, the FIFA Confederations 2009 will give South Africans an exciting taste of what's to come in 2010 and pits the champions from the world's six major football confederations - as well as the defending World Cup champions and next hosts - against each other.
With much pomp and ceremony the pupils of St Theresa's "adopted" as their own the countries who have already qualified for the Confederations Cup, namely 2006 World Cup champions Italy, 2010 hosts South Africa, Copa America champions Brazil, Concacaf champions the United States, surprise Asian champions Iraq and African champions Egypt.
While the European representatives for the Confederations Cup will only be decided once the winners of Euro 2008 are crowned in June, the school nominated Portugal as their European representatives.
Oceania are also still in the qualifying process, but the school nominated favourites New Zealand for Oceania's Confederations Cup slot.
The school invited the Chief Executive Officer of the 2010 FIFA World Cup Organising Committee (OC), Dr Danny Jordaan, to the sports day, while OC ambassadors and former South African internationals Mark Fish, Philemon Masinga and Doctor Khumalo also attended the event.
"We want to congratulate St Theresa's on taking this initiative and on a wonderful concept. It's just wonderful that you've taken this first step to promote the first event leading up to the 2010 FIFA World Cup and that we could join you for it. Football is about you, the future of this country. It's about developing your body, but also exercising your mind and this initiative does both," said Dr Jordaan.
"A day like this is very important for the Organising Committee and for all South Africans, to show that we can host a tournament like this and get fans excited about it," Dr Jordaan added.
The school's principal, Deon Oerson, said that soccer was "big" at St Theresa's.
"Every year we put a day aside where we play soccer the whole day. Soccer is a big part of our curriculum and we make sure our learners are well aware of the importance of soccer. We wait in anticipation for the Confederations Cup and the World Cup and we are joining the countdown. We welcome Dr Jordaan and to the ambassadors, our children live their dreams through you and today you've made their dreams come true," said Mr Oerson.
And for the kids there was an added incentive to play with a little more vigor, as Dr Jordaan announced that the winners of the "St Theresa's Confederations Cup" would get tickets to the opening match of the FIFA Confederations Cup 2009 in Johannesburg on June 14 2009.