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1096 days and counting

Date: Jun 10 2007
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Today marks exactly three years before the first match of a FIFA World Cup finals is contested on African soil. National sponsor of the 2010 FIFA World Cup, FNB Bank decided to commemorate the day with the unveiling of the first countdown clock to the kick-off on 11 June 2010. The five-metre high digital clock is in South Africa in the domestic arrivals section of the OR Thambo International Airport in Johannesburg.

Derek Carstens, Marketing Director of FNB said: "this is important as it brings a time perspective to the event and is a way of dramatising it to create positive momentum."

The bank has a long and established history in football that started with the vision of the building of Soccer City in the mid-1980s. They also sponsored both the 2006 and 2010 bids to host the FIFA World Cup and are now national sponsors.

The marketing initiative, "Just imagine", is aimed at South Africans in order to analyse what kind of country and what kind of people they want to be by the time the FIFA World Cup makes its way to African soil. Michael Jordaan, CEO of FNB believes that "FNB's partnership with FIFA places us in a strong position to help South Africa shine through helping them to capitalise on the opportunities created by the tournament."

Sibongile Mazibuko, Director of the 2010 Project in Johannesburg, was also quick to point out that the clock is a physical representation that "the clock was ticking".

One of the Local Organising Committee's Football Ambassadors, Kalusha Bwalya, former Zambia international and icon, sees the countdown clock as a warm-up to the main event. He was philosophical about the clock, saying "This time will be significant to all who pass through this airport, they are able to see that it is really happening. It is a motivation to want to be there, to be part of it".

"The Countdown Clock is a visible reminder to us all to maintain the pace of nation building that we have already initiated. When the world's eyes turn to South Africa in 2010, we will be ready," said Danny Jordaan, CEO of the Local Organising Committee.

FNB will be unveiling countdown clocks in all host cities and in front of SAFA House. As the event closes in, Carstens is emphatic in his belief that "It is not about how good this event will be, it's about how great it will be."

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