PROUD volunteers gear up for 2010

SOUTH Africa's "unsung heroes" - volunteers - celebrated their contribution to the success of the Fifa Confederations Cup at the weekend.

SOUTH Africa's "unsung heroes" - volunteers - celebrated their contribution to the success of the Fifa Confederations Cup at the weekend.

Volunteers from the four host cities attended "thank you" lunches - and next year's Fifa World Cup is definitely on their minds.

With applications opening on July 20, the selfless Confederations Cup volunteers are more than willing to return for Africa's first Fifa World Cup.

Because 15000 volunteers are required, they are encouraging others to sign up as well.

"Please apply, you will have a great time and will definitely not regret the choice. I gained a lot of experience having to deal with people from different cultures and backgrounds," said Violet Letsoalo, who worked as a spectator services volunteer.

For Roshan Bhana, who worked in the accreditation department, being a volunteer was all about serving his country and he hopes other South Africans will follow suit on July 20.

"When people ask me what the difference will be between this [World] Cup and the one in Germany, I tell them it will be the people."

Said Tshidiso Ntshabele: "Africa proved to the whole world what we can do and I am very proud of the contribution I have made."

For the man at the helm of the 2010 World Cup campaign, Danny Jordaan, the volunteers have shown the world what South Africa is all about.

"It is those that have less that give more and those that have nothing give the most. If you go around the country you will see this spirit of community and this is the essence of the kind of SA we want to build. This country will be great if more people continue to do this," said Jordaan, who attended the Johannesburg and Tshwane volunteer lunches.

He said the volunteers will make the World Cup a hit.

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