The Minister of Sport has appealed to corporate South Africa to throw their weight behind the Springboks’ Rugby World Cup campaign in a public message.
Mr Fikile Mbalula asked South Africa’s employers – large and small – to join their workforce in supporting the campaign to wear their Springbok jerseys on BokFridays – starting tomorrow.
“It’s that time of year again where we have to wear our green and gold to support our national pride; the Springboks,” he said.
“Corporate South Africa, black green or yellow, Rainbow Nation, unite behind the Springboks and show your support by wearing the green the gold like me; the Springboks No 1 supporter.”
The Minister’s appeal came on the eve of the Boks’ first match of the season – against a World XV at Newlands on Saturday – and marks the countdown in earnest to the Rugby World Cup kick off in England on September 18.
Fans have been asked to share the gees by wearing their officially licensed Springbok jerseys on the 11 Fridays between tomorrow and the big kick off.
Jurie Roux, CEO of the South African Rugby Union (SARU), said the objective was to turn the country green every Friday in the next three months.
“Our campaign for the tournament is #HomeGroundAdvantage,” said Roux. “It feeds on the belief that passion for the Springboks and the importance of their success to this country runs so deep that wherever the team plays they can feel South Africa behind them.
“We want South Africans to show the team that support before they leave for England by putting on their Green and Gold every Friday to demonstrate their passion for the Springboks and support for the campaign.
“And those fans who really ‘got the teams’ back can go one step further by literally appearing on the players’ jerseys at the tournament. We’re asking fans to go to www.homegroundadvantage.co.za and upload a selfie which will appear as part of the number on the back of a Jean de Villiers or Bryan Habana at Brighton, Newcastle, Birmingham or London.”
Roux said that fans could even buy a replica of the jersey – featuring their selfie in the playing number – to give a unique flavour to their BokFriday contribution.
“It is the ultimate bragging right,” said Roux. “To be able to say when ‘that’ Springbok runs out onto the field with your picture on his back, that you’re right there with him on the field.
“It makes the connection between the team and their supporters a little bit more real and I’m sure that when the players receive their playing jersey on the eve of a match they’ll be checking out ‘who’s got my back?’.”
The first BokFriday takes place tomorrow with SARU urging supporters to stick to official licensed merchandise and not fall for shoddy, counterfeit goods.