Lucky to meet their football stars

Sipho Maluleke has commended energy drink Powerade for making it possible for him to rub shoulders with soccer greats of the world.

Sipho Maluleke has commended energy drink Powerade for making it possible for him to rub shoulders with soccer greats of the world.

Maluleke is one of the lucky 448 ball-crew members who have been selected to serve at the 2010 Fifa World Cup that gets under way on Friday.

In the past, only young boys were recruited by clubs and soccer associations for friendly and official matches across the country.

They were commonly known as "ball boys" but the name was changed after the recruitment of girls.

Maluleke, who plays for Diepkloof M11 Football Club, was excited after meeting Bafana Bafana players at Milpark Stadium on Friday.

He was with Thabiso Bereng, also from Diepkoof and their coach Karabo Hadebe.

"It's one day I will never forget in my life - meeting some of the best soccer players in the world like Steven Pienaar, Siphiwe Tshabalala and Teko Modise," said Maluleke.

"My favourite player is Siphiwe. He is very skillful and what I love most about him is the way he takes free kicks."

Bereng said: "I'm a big fan of Teko, this is a special day for me."

Ismail Nanabhay, the company's brand manager, said boys and girls between the ages of 14 and 17 were recruited from 31 amateur clubs in the nine World Cup host cities.

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