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The corner of Paul Kruger and Brown streets in Nelspruit, Mpumalanga, was a hive of activity yesterday as First National Bank and Mbombela town officials unveiled the city's 2010 FNB Countdown Clock, along with the municipality's official 2010 logo.
The brightly-displayed clock brought overwhelming pride to the town when it was ceremoniously "switched-on" by Mpumalanga Premier Thabang Makwetla and FNB Mpumalanga representative, Tshidi Lebenya.
Lebenya said she hoped the brightly coloured time-piece would be a symbolic representation of the massive potential the event presented for the growth and development of the region.
"At FNB, we are confident that 2010 will be a huge success.
"We believe good preparation and a positive attitude will contribute to our success in hosting the event," Lebenya said.
The FNB Countdown Clock will remind every resident and visitor to Nelspruit exactly how many days are left before South Africa hosts the greatest sporting event on the planet.
"The slogan 'ke nako' must inspire us to work timeously to provide road infrastructure, health amenities and disaster management capacity and that our Nelspruit CBD becomes a crime-free environ in preparation for a world-class event.
"The countdown clock must symbolically remind us that there is serious work going on in our host cities," said Makwetla.
Constructed from moulded fibreglass in the insignia of FNB turquoise colour, each five-metre tall Countdown Clock bears both the FNB and Fifa logos.
Under a digital display (in days) counting down to the 2010 kick-off, the clock bears the bank's 2010 tagline: "Proudly Helping South Africa Shine".
Another unique physical feature of the clock is a three-dimensional soccer ball, designed by internationally renowned sporting experts Adidas.
The digital messaging on the clock can be programmed to communicate other "appropriate" 2010 Fifa World Cup messages.
Soccer enthusiasts in the city of Nelspruit, along with other FNB customers around the country, will be given the exclusive opportunity to win tickets to both the 2009 Fifa Confederations Cup and the 2010 Fifa World Cup through a recently-launched customer competition to FNB customers.
As the official national supporter of the 2010 Fifa World Cup through its R20million sponsorship of the event, FNB is entitled to a package of rights and benefits that include access to purchasable match tickets to both tournaments.
As the official bank of Mpumalanga province, FNB has also partnered with the provincial government to promote heritage tourism and assist the region's SMMEs in setting up and running successful tourism businesses in readiness for 2010.
"The clock is ticking, and this should serve as a catalyst for everyone in Mpumalanga to focus and use every opportunity they have to improve their lives through this event and beyond," Lebenya said.