Campaign to unite Africa for World Cup

GIANT cellular company and 2010 Fifa World Cup sponsor MTN unveiled a campaign to unite Africans in the upcoming international football showpiece in June.

GIANT cellular company and 2010 Fifa World Cup sponsor MTN unveiled a campaign to unite Africans in the upcoming international football showpiece in June.

The campaign, known as Africa United, was unveiled at the weekend.

Six African teams will take part in the tournament.

The campaign will crisscross the continent, said the group's Cambridge Mokanyane, who added that "simply hosting a tournament of such magnitude is already a win for Africa".

"Imagine an African team in the final, and bringing the cup home. The notion of an African win is not far-fetched," he said.

He pointed at the large number of African international football stars plying their trade in Europe.

"Players compete in top competitions globally, and are already ranked among some of the best. Now it's a question of getting the African continent behind this notion, and already a large part of the challenge will have been met," he said.

MTN Cameroon chief marketing officer Jean-Simon Ngann Yonn said the campaign was a political statement that the cellphone company had been advocating in the market for a long time. And it is in line with MTN's efforts to contribute to Africa's development," Yonn said.

He said they had been ready for the past two years, "and we are now 120percent ready".

Serame Taukobong of MTN South Africa said: "The 2010 Fifa World Cup has not only put South Africa on the map. It has put the spotlight squarely on Africa.

"Win or not, we are all victors in this tremendous effort."

Local Organising Committee chief executive Danny Jordaan said an African team must be in the final. "We are crossing our fingers," Jordaan said.

He said he hads high hopes for South Africa, Ghana, Nigeria, Ivory Coast, Cameroon and Algeria. "We expect a lot from these teams. We have teams of high quality on the continent," he said.

Nigeria's Bola Akingbade said the Super Eagles' supporters had been preparing for the tournament since 2006.

"Not only does Nigeria have a strong national team, but off the pitch there is a legion of supporters who feel that an African dream of unity has to be fulfilled this year."

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