On the 5th September the world’s biggest football tournament for kids between 10 and 12 years old, the Danone Nations Cup World Finals, kicks off in London, England, and representing South Africa will be a team from a school based in the dusty streets of Bushbuckridge in Mpumalanga, Daniye Primary School. The school will be one of 32 countries that will compete in the 14th edition of the tournament, with four teams representing Africa: Algeria, Morocco, Tunisia and South Africa.
The English Government is fully behind the initiative. “I'm delighted that London will host the 2013 World Final of the Danone Nations Cup,” said Hugh Robertson, British Minister of Sport and Tourism. “More than 400 children and their families from 32 countries will travel to the capital to take part in the World Final at the iconic Wembley Stadium and I'm sure they will be given a warm welcome and have a wonderful experience during their stay in the UK. “
Robertson says the tournament will help bring awareness to sport and exercise to the youth in Britain. “Helping more children participate in sport is a key part of delivering a legacy from the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, and so one year on there is no better place for the World Final to be held. With over 2 million children participating in the competition worldwide, and over 40,000 in England, it's a great example of how this competition is playing its part in increasing sports participation amongst young people.”
“The 2013 Danone Nations Cup World Final has been officially recognised as 'Inspired By 2012', and can use the emblem of the 2012 legacy campaign. By bringing this competition to the UK on the anniversary of the 2012 Games, Danone has shown real commitment to helping deliver a sustainable activity, health and sports legacy.
For Danone, the tournament is a way of putting into practice the company's mission, ‘to bring health through food to as many people as possible’, by teaching children about the positive values of sport, and the importance of a proper diet and exercise. To help drive the message each country is encouraged to bring a football celebrity on board. The tournament ambassador is Zinedine Zidane and in South Africa is Neil Tovey, ex Bafana Bafana and Kaizer Chiefs captain.
Other ambassadors, many of whom will be in London to watch their country include:
Algeria / Tarek Hadj Adlane
Famous former striker in the Algerian league.
Saudi Arabia / Mohamed Al Schalhoub
A professional footballer for the best-known club in the country, Al-Hilal FCB.
Argentina / Javier Zanetti
Former captain of the Argentina national team.
Belarus / Alexander Hleb
Formerly at Arsenal and Barcelona now currently plays for FC BATE Borisov.
Belgium / Denis Odoi
Competed as a player in the Danone Nations Cup in 2000 and currently plays in defence for RSC Anderlecht.
Brazil / Cafu
Cafu is the most capped player in the history of the Brazilian national team (148).
Bulgaria / Dimitar Berbatov
Plays for English Premier League side, Fulham.
Canada / Ashtone Morgan
Currently plays for Toronto FC.
Chile / Diego Rivarola
Argentine player who plays as a striker for a Chilean club.
Spain / Vicente del Bosque
A former Spanish international and currently manager of the Spanish national team.
England / Tom Ince
Currently plays in the Championship for Blackpool FC as a winger.
France / Christophe Dugarry
Former international striker. Winner of the World Cup in 1998 and European Championship in 2000.
Germany / Michael Ballack
Star of German football, three times voted Germany's best player and retired a few months ago.
Japan / Tsuyoshi Kitazawa
Former Japanese professional footballer.
Netherlands / Richard Krajicek
Former Dutch tennis star, who won the Wimbledon men's singles title in 1996 by beating Pete Sampras.
Romania / Gheorghe Hagi
Played for Real Madrid, Barcelona and Galatasaray. He is currently a coach.
Ukraine / Maxim ShatskikhFormer emblematic striker for Dynamo Kiev, where he played for ten years.