On Friday, 4th December, when the world's attention was turned towards the tip of Africa for the official draw for the 2010 FIFA World Cup in Cape Town, amidst the hullabaloo of global football administrators, soccer players, sponsors and Hollywood celebs attending the event, a very unique story unfolded for an everyday South Africa football fan who recently became the luckiest supporter in the world.
For 29-year-old South African football fan, Thulani Ngcobo, who during June 2010 will be travelling more than 17 000 kilometers to attend 38 live 2010 FIFA World Cup matches in nine host cities - the reality of the feat was fast beginning to sink in. On Friday he jetted into Cape Town to join MTN at their fan event hosted at the V&A Waterfront, before being whisked off to the official 2010 FIFA World Cup Draw Fan Park festivities in Long Street.
Exp South Africa developed the concept of the “Last Fan Standing” competition for client MTN, as the consumer promotion for the South African MTN8 football tournament which took place between August and October this year. South African football fans simply had to enter the competition and answer a question, to stand a chance to become one of eight weekly finalists to stand a chance of winning the ultimate prize.
It was Ngcobo who turned out to be the luckiest supporter, when he was crowned the winner of the Last Fan Standing competition at the MTN8 Final in October.
Ngcobo, who for days after winning the most incredible prize a football fan could hope for said that he felt like he was still dreaming, could be counted as the luckiest football fan in the world. That is, if the permission granted by Guinness World Record™ to attempt this unusual feat, is given the final nod of approval at the end of the 2010 FIFA World Cup.
When Exp developed the competition idea, they simultaneously applied to Guinness World Record™, submitting the 38-match campaign as a record breaking attempt. Last week, Guinness World Record™ officially endorsed the claim by issuing a claim number, for the “most matches attended at a FIFA World Cup™ by an individual”. To recognise the record Ngcobo must attend at least 20 games, but MTN's Last Fan Standing winner is attempting to take this a step further by attending 38 matches.
“After attending the fan festivities in Cape Town I finally think the reality of winning this amazing prize from MTN is starting to sink in. At the Fan Park I met so many people who said they would follow my journey during 2010, and now I can't wait ” said an exhilarated Ngcobo at the street bash.
As if by fate, Ngcobo has proudly been displaying his nickname as “Ngcobo 2010” on his local and national team supporter jerseys since 2006, while his email address for the past few months also bears the name ”Ngcobo2010”.
“Exp managed Ngcobo's trip to Cape Town on behalf of MTN and despite managing major events quite often, even we were surprised at the amount of media attention he received at the Long Street Fan Park. There was a complete media frenzy around Thulani. He became a bit of local celeb, as he smiled for photojournalists, took photos with fans and paused his celebrations momentarily for interviews with at least 9 local and foreign TV crews,” said Exp PR Director, Yolanda Arendse.
“This is an amazing campaign and Thulani is such a deserving winner. He truly breathes, eats and sleeps football. And if the attention at the Draw was this intense, I can only begin to imagine what it will be like for him at the World Cup itself next year,” said Arendse.
Exp will manage “Ngcobo2010's” entire experience at the 2010 FIFA World Cup next year, including all his travel and accommodation, transfers from airports to stadiums and hotels,and all his publicity and media appearances and interviews.