The Ball says farewell on Table Mountain
On July 27, a round object, known simply as The Ball, was spotted on Table Mountain. A ragtag creation, The Ball was patched up in all sorts of colours and covered in signatures.
Further investigation revealed that The Ball was the football equivalent of the Olympic torch, having made its way from Battersea Park in London, where in 1864 the first game of Football Association (FA) rules football was played. It arrived in Cape Town, and went up Table Mountain, at the end of an epic 15 000 kilometre journey through 32 countries in 138 days. It was kicked, headed and signed by more than 18 000 people on the trip.
The Ball’s journey, a Spirit of Football initiative, is in support of the Special Olympics, which offers the mentally disabled the opportunity to participate in sport.
The Ball visited Morocco, Senegal, Ghana, Nigeria, Cameroon, Tanzania, Malawi, Namibia, Botswana and South Africa, to name just a few of its destinations, on a journey that started on January 24.
The Ball 2010 was made by non-profit organisation Alive & Kicking in Kenya. Alive & Kicking is a social enterprise that manufactures hand-stitched balls in sub-Saharan Africa. They’ve distributed more than 300 000 balls to children across the continent.
Spirit of Football’s mission is to share the joy of the beautiful game, making a pilgrimage every four years from London to the city chosen to host the FIFA World Cup™ opening ceremony. The next journey, to Brazil in 2014, is already being planned.