Ellis Park stadium was full of excitement and anticipation yesterday as the names of the McDonald’s Player Escorts were drawn and the lucky few who will have the chance to walk onto the pitch with their heroes were chosen.
Chief Executive Officer of the 2010 FIFA World Cup Organising Committee, Dr Danny Jordan, opened proceedings by drawing the name of the first escort for the 2010 FIFA World Cup™ – who will be notified once all the details are verified.
Greg Solomon, South African Managing Director of FIFA Partner McDonald’s explained the recruitment process that McDonald’s had overseen in the last six weeks where children between the ages of six and 10 years were encouraged to fill out the McDonald’s Player Escort application forms.
“In total there will be 1408 children between the ages of 6 and 10 years, from around the world, who will escort the players from each of the 32 countries that are participating in the 2010 FIFA World Cup. The children will be drawn from each of South Africa’s host cities” explained Solomon.
While the McDonald’s Player Escorts for 2010 will soon be notified, they have a lot to learn from the class of 2009, who carried out their McDonald’s Player Escort duties during the FIFA Confederations Cup 2009.
For Brasco Van Niekerk (10), from Primrose, Johannesburg, the FIFA Confederations Cup “was quite a nerve-wracking experience as I remember walking out onto the Ellis Park pitch during Bafana Bafana’s opening game against Iraq hand in hand with Benson Mhlongo”.
“I remember the Bafana Bafana players singing loud in the tunnel just before we walked onto field. As we walked onto the field the sounds of the Vuvuzelas and people cheering was deafening”.
“After escorting the players onto the field we were then escorted to a section of the stadium where we watched the game with our parents” said Brasco.
For brother and sister Kopano and Lelentle Mosimane from Houghton, Johannesburg, the Confederations Cup was memorable for the cold weather and the nerves they each felt as they feared making a mistake on such a big occasion.
Lelentle remembered escorting USA Captain, London Donovan, in their match against Brazil at Ellis Park.
“We waited in the tunnel for the players to come out of their dressing rooms. They then came out and the USA captain came to me, said hello, and then grabbed my hand just before we went onto the field. I felt nervous because I didn’t want to make a mistake in front of all those people but it was a very nice experience,” remembered Lelentle.