The closing ceremony of the FIFA World Cup, brought a lot of things to an end, like checking scores, looking in disbelief as big teams like Italy, Argentina, Brazil etc fell, like a pack of cards, smiling & wondering whether to believe in the octopus Paul’s prophecy! As Shakira sang “Waka, Waka,” the perfect cheering song meaning “Do it” during the closing ceremony, the world held its breath in anticipation. Who would it be this time – Spain or Netherlands? However, for a few moments, everybody forgot about the finals when this person entered the stadium, as all 89,000 spectators rose to salute the great leader, who actually started it all. Nelson Mandela’s overpowering presence left many teary-eyed. South Africa became the first African nation to host the FIFA Would Cup. Years ago, it also was the same nation that was banned from FIFA due to the apartheid system.

If you have seen the heart touching film “Invictus” directed by Clint Eastwood, you would understand what a long & difficult journey Mandela tread to reach here. If there is one leader who understood the power of sports, it was this man – Nelson Mandela. In his first term as the newly elected president, in 1995, Mandela did the impossible. He united an apartheid-torn nation, brought them together using the universal language of sports, as he worked hard to make South Africa win the 1995 Rugby World Cup – where both blacks & whites of South Africa for the first time cheered together for their nation. From there to becoming a hosting nation of FIFA, all one can say – what a man!

A few days back, Adidas launched a 60 - second viral to celebrate the success of its shoes F50 Adizero. The maximum number of goals during this World Cup were scored by players wearing the F50 Adizero shoe. While 20-year-old Thomas Mueller may have won the ‘Golden Boot Award’ and joined the club which has stars like Pele, Michael Owen etc, a totally different competition has started between Adidas & Nike. While Adidas in its viral claims its F50 to be the ‘2010 FIFA World Cup Top Scoring Boot’, Nike for its part claims the honours. After all, Iniesta who scored the winning goal for Spain was wearing Nike’s CTR360 Elite series boots.

Irrespective of whose claims are correct, this is sure, both brands would witness a surge in their sales. However, what’s interesting is FIFA or any other mega sporting events do more than just help sell sports shoes.

A month before the FIFA, people in UK were asked, “How safe is South Africa?” A good 56% responded ‘not safe’, while only 3% said ‘very safe’. Towards the end of the World Cup, 56% had changed their answer to ‘quite safe’. South Africa saw its image getting a boost after the world watched it on TV for about a month!      Read More....

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