Visa made the dreams of 11 South African children come true when they led some of the world’s best football players onto the pitch at Al-Salam Stadium in Cairo during the 2019 Total Africa Cup of Nations quarter-final match between Algeria and Nigeria on Sunday. Visa, the world’s leader in digital payments and official sponsor of the prestigious tournament, gave the lucky children the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to be player escorts as part of its Unstoppable Stories campaign, which was launched earlier this year.
The player escorts, who were also treated to a three-day trip to the capital city, were Bontle Khanye; Katlego Mohale; Sarah Mapoto; Phumla Habe; Thato Mahapa; Tshidiso Simelane; Sandile Malaza; Tshepang Motloung from all hailing from Johannesburg. Smukelo Dhlamini and Yash Maharaj from Durban and Mogamat Abrahams from Cape Town. The children were identified through Visa’s Unstoppable Stories campaign for 2019 Total Africa Cup of Nations, which called upon children to share their stories and inspirations of what makes them or their heroes unstoppable.
Commenting on the occasion, Daneel Jordaan Visa’s Country Manager for South Africa said, “Visa is a long-standing supporter of football and we are proud to be leveraging our sponsorship of the 2019 Total Africa Cup of Nations in such a positive way. It was heart-warming to witness the joy of the player escorts as they led the players into the stadium. The special moment marked the culmination of weeks of preparation since the Unstoppable Stories campaign was launched. Congratulations to each of the player escorts who represented South Africa with honour in front of a global audience and to everyone who contributed to the success of the inspirational campaign.”
Speaking after the match, Bontle Khanye, one of the 11 player escorts from South Africa said, “Travelling to Cairo and being a player escort was a huge honour and incredible experience. Leading the football players into the stadium in front of a cheering crowd was a memory that I will treasure forever and I would like to thank Visa for making it possible.”
Evelyn Khanye, Mother of Bontle, added, “I was extremely proud to watch my son escort the players onto the pitch at the 2019 Total Africa Cup of Nations quarter-finals. The atmosphere in the stadium was electric and it is was a moment I will cherish forever. Thank you to Visa for making my son’s dreams come true.”
Through Visa’s sponsorship of the player escort program for the 2019 Total Africa Cup of Nations tournament, more than 1,100 children from around the world have been given the opportunity to lead out their football heroes as they take to the field during the football tournament.
Visa’s sponsorship of the 2019 Total Africa Cup of Nations tournament in 2019 and 2021, makes Visa the exclusive or preferred payment services provider at all venues and the official partner of the player escort program. With The Confederation of African Football (CAF), the organizer of the tournament, Visa is able to capitalize on football’s popularity throughout the continent, tap into high-growth markets and continue to deliver exclusive benefits to its local communities, clients, partners and fans as they come together to support the best of African football.