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IT was all smiles when 12 teenagers from a local charity organisation received an unforgettable slice of the 2010 Fifa World Cup action.
They were allowed to carry the national flags of the competing nations on to the field ahead of a match between Nigeria and Korea in Durban. The teams drew 2-2.
The children were from the Umlazi-based Sithokozise Noah (Nurturing Orphans of Aids for Humanity). Noah is a charity organisation that helps children in Africa who have been orphaned or are vulnerable to Aids and HIV.
"I couldn't sleep knowing I would be at the stadium. It was such a great opportunity. I will cherish it my entire life," one teenager said.
Sithokozise chief executive Noah Siphiwe Miya said the youngsters could not contain their excitement over this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity granted by Coca-Cola South Africa.
"For these kids, being among the 768 youths from across the country who carried flags at the Fifa World Cup matches, is like a dream come true. Our children will learn the values of patience, persistence, concentration and hard work as they train before the match.
"Moreover, the children will be less than 50m away from some of the world's most famous footballers. This opportunity will leave our children feeling important as they are part of this global showpiece ," Miya said.
Onwell Msomi, general manager 2010 Fifa World Cup Project Team at Coca-Cola SA, said: "We wanted to bring the euphoria of the World Cup event to the South African youth and give them extraordinary experiences.
"We are pleased to have Sithokozise Noah's children participating in this history- making moment," Msomi said.
Coca-Cola is involved in a number of youth development projects, including the development of youth soccer.
Through the 2010 Fifa World Cup Ticket Fund initiative, Coca-Cola provided 20000 children with an opportunity to watch matches. Tickets were allocated to schools that took part in the recycling programme Coca-Cola has, as part of the World Cup Ticket Fund.