‘Soccer star didn’t talk to me’

2010-06-24 15:33

Eight-year-old Khanyi Khumalo was one of the fortunate player

escorts to walk the Bafana Bafana and Mexico players to the opening game of the

first-ever Fifa World Cup to be hosted on African soil.

She said: “I was very excited and a bit nervous but mostly


But it seems many players were too focused on their impending test

on the pitch to pay much attention to their young companions.

Khumalo’s charge for the day (June 11) was Mexico captain Gerardo

Torrado, who just held her hand and didn’t talk to her.

“He just said something to his team in a language I didn’t know,”

said Khumalo.


sympathetic for Khumalo and her ilk would be misplaced, as it did not spoil

their experience.

McDonald’s had 1 408 player escort vacancies (1 275 from South

Africa and 133 from more than 40 countries) and had to choose from more than 200

000 applicants.

Katlego Mulikita, also 8, accompanied Ghana’s Dede Ayew in the

African country’s match against Australia on June 19. He also didn’t talk to

her, she says.

Mulikita said: “Some lady told us not to talk to them.”

When asked where Ghana was, Mulikita didn’t skip a heartbeat,

saying: “It’s in America.” she said.

“And Australia?” we asked.

“In America,” she replied.

Flag-bearer Tanele Dlamini says that carrying the flag onto the

pitch was a “once in a lifetime opportunity for me”.

The 15-year-old, whose favourite team is Ghana, said: “I was very


Dlamini carried the Fifa Fair Play flag during the Argentina versus

Nigeria match at Ellis Park on June 12.

Dlamini, who has started a female football team, says that they had

to rehearse five times before the match and her favourite part of the experience

was “seeing all the foreigners coming to our country and how we exceeded their


Mulikita says that hers was holding Ayew’s hand and making a new

friend in one of the other escorts, while Khumalo’s was singing the national

anthem with the players and millions of fans.


Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.