On Monday the 21st June 2010 the city of Port Elizabeth hosted the World Cup match between Switzerland and Chile. The Swiss Embassy had sponsored 60 tickets for our beneficiaries for this match, which meant the world to the kids that got to receive these tickets. This sponsor was made possible through our institutional partner, Imbewu Suisse.
The previous day, it was all red and white at Dan Qeqe Stadium in Zwide, one of the townships we work in. The kids had the pleasure of meeting the Ambassador of Switzerland, Mr Rudolf Baerfuss, they also met Arthur Dubach who is the godfather of Roger Federer and they met one of the players from the Switzerland team, Philippe Senderos. The mayor of the Nelson Mandela Bay, Mr Zanoxolo Wayile was also present to honour this event and there was a lot of media from Switzerland and the wider Europe. The Swiss Football Federation was at the location to make official the partnership between them and Imbewu Suisse, interact with the community and distribute balls.
With the World Cup being hosted in South Africa, Alex Miescher, the secretary general of the Federation, wanted to acknowledge that they were not only about the sport but also wanted to engage on a more social level with the communities of South Africa. Because of his injury, Senderos was able to go meet with the kids, play with them and he also gave a bit of motivational talk. He was very popular with the kids as they knew him from being with Arsenal. By sponsoring the tickets, t-shirts and caps, the Embassy wanted to show a Switzerland that cares. The Ambassador talked to the kids about Switzerland and him and the Mayor gave some motivational words to the kids. Arthur Dubach gave out some Roger Federer caps and t-shirts to the kids, who were all too excited.In the later afternoon, there was a football tournament between the kids where one team was in Swiss t-shirts and the other in South African t-shirts.
Match day was full of excitement carried over from the previous day as the kids went to watch the game at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium all geared up in their red supporters t-shirts. Walking around the stadium with the Ambassador made the kids feel extremely important and proud to be part of this group. It was a lot of fun watching the game especially since the kids had been “hanging out” with one of the players just the previous day! They were singing Swiss songs, which caught a lot people’s attention as it was rather unusual to see these South African kids singing Swiss songs with so much passion and excitement. The atmosphere was just beautiful and the kids had a great time watching the match.
"I hope to travel to Switzerland to return the feeling that they gave us here and meet the kids there. I had a great time cheering for the Swiss team!" - Zanyiwe Dukumbana, Project Beneficiary
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