The search for 15,000 volunteers for the 2010 FIFA World Cup™ begins today. As people from around the world logon to FIFA.com to apply, a group of experienced South African volunteers reminisce about their contribution to the successful FIFA Confederations Cup, many of them first in line to sign up for the 2010 FIFA World Cup.
"It really was a life changing experience. I learnt what it meant to be a South African and I saw a united nation, I learnt that all South Africans can come together and work as one nation," said Nannikie Mogwashwa, who worked as an accreditation volunteer during the FIFA Confederations Cup.
For Mogwashwa nothing could be better than working as a volunteer for next year's tournament and she will definitely be one of the thousands of people applying through FIFA.com.
"It was so important to see the joy in people's faces and to be part of something so important."
Another patriotic South African, Ahmed Gora Ebrahim - who many will remember running onto the field for top local side Orlando Pirates in the early 1990's - dedicated two weeks of his time to the country during the FIFA Confederations Cup. Judging by his reaction to his time spent as a media volunteer, the former football star will be back on the job in 2010.
It really was a life changing experience. I learnt what it meant to be
a South African and I saw a united nation, I learnt that all South
Africans can come together and work as one nation
"As a former player watching the South African team walking out onto the pitch for a major FIFA tournament in my own country was a very special moment for me. When the flag was revealed that really was amazing - I just turned my back, I was so emotional I couldn't watch."
Despite the emotional start to his work during the FIFA Confederations Cup, Ebrahim has no doubt in his mind that successful World Cup volunteer applicants will be working hard during their time at the tournament.
"Things needed to be perfect and we really needed to deliver. In that one hour before kick-off you need all your senses about you. An important characteristic of a volunteer is that they need to keep cool under pressure," said Ebrahim.
After his experiences as a volunteer, Ebrahim is already assisting the 2010 FIFA World Cup Organising Committee in getting the 15,000 volunteers.
"I am recruiting right now - the Matrics in the high school where I teach and the teachers. These people have great skills and will be a big asset to team 2010."
Sacrificing a lot for his time as a volunteer, Chris Bussey closed his security company down for the time he was working for the FIFA Confederations Cup. For Bussey it was well worth it.
"All I can say is ‘wow', from the first time you are with the 1000 or so volunteers during training to the last day, it is an experience you can never forget. I was privileged to be part of the Confederations Cup."
Recollecting one of the more memorable moments during his time as a volunteer, Bussey talked about the lift he gave to a number of Japanese journalists as a transport volunteer.
"I even had to explain to some Japanese journalists that the crowd were not booing Bafana Bafana defender Matthew Booth but rather shouting out his name in support. If I had not told them that they could have written a story about it," said a proud Bussey, highlighting the important task of the volunteers as custodians of the tournament and the country.
"I knew this was an opportunity not to be missed," concluded Bussey who is now encouraging his daughter to volunteer for next year.