Cape Town – Sixteen children from across South Africa have been selected for the chance of a lifetime to travel to the Total Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) in Egypt and be a player escort to lead some of the world’s best football players on to the pitch.

Through hard work and the embodiment of fair play, the children have been selected from a regional tournament that took place in Cape Town, Pietermaritzburg and Ekurhuleni as part of Visa’s Grassroots programme for Afcon.

Visa is the player escort programme partner for the 2019 Total Africa Cup of Nations tournament from June 21 to July 19.

Some 168 children aged eight to 10 were selected by the South African Football Coaches’ Association to take part.

At the regional tournaments, a panel of coaches made their selections for more than just skills on the ground - they also identified discipline and punctuality, commitment, passion, respect and teamwork - giving all children equal opportunity to walk with some of the greatest African football stars in Egypt.

Visa head of consumer products for sub-Saharan Africa and acting country manager for South Africa, Daneel Jordaan, said the continent embodied the spirit of perseverance and determination.

“We're a highly resourceful continent that solves our challenges with a mixture of ingenuity and positivity.

“We’re also blessed with a very youthful population and we at Visa want to highlight the passion and unstoppable spirit of our people.

‘‘Through our Grassroots campaign we want to identify talent and inspiring stories told from the perspective of our youth and share them with the world,” he said.

Through the programme, Visa is giving more 1100 children the chance to be part of the 52 matches taking place during the month.

Parents and guardians of the children will have the opportunity to watch from the stands.

“Visa’s sponsorship of the Total Africa Cup of Nations Egypt 2019 gives us an opportunity to be part of what is the third biggest tournament on the planet, and through this campaign we want to put a spotlight on the excitement in South Africa and Africa, and also through it, pay homage to the indomitable spirit of the South African people,” Jordaan said.

Cape Times