When the parents of a young soccer fan entered a competition at McDonald’s, they had no idea they would proudly watch their son run onto the Cape Town Stadium in front of more than 60 000 people.Mo Hendricks, security manager for the Central City Improvement District, is still on a high after watching his ten-year-old son Yunus run onto the field as a player escort for the Spain vs Portugal match on Tuesday 29 June.
“We entered a competition months ago, while we were in McDonalds with our children. It was an application for children to be player escorts. My wife filled in the form and threw it in the box and we forgot about it,” Mo said.
A few months later, he received a call to say his son had been chosen as a player escort.
“I thought it was a joke, but once it had all sunk in I got cracking and gathered all the necessary documents together,” said Mo.
For two months before his big day, young Yunus, who is an avid soccer fan, spoke of little else. When the day finally dawned, it was rainy and cold, but that did nothing to dampen his spirits.
“He was so excited. He was dressed so warmly that he looked like a snowman,” said Mo.
The young player escorts who had been selected, met at McDonalds in Bellville where they had a meal, after which they were driven to the stadium in a luxury coach.
The children then went to rehearse for their big moment, while the adults were treated to a trip to the aquarium.
Mo, who, with other parents of player escorts, was also given a ticket to the Stadium, will never forget the moment his son walked onto the field.
“I was extremely proud. There were more than 62 0000 people in the Stadium and my son ran out in front of them.
“He was on the field for about ten minutes, then he came and sat with me for the match.
“The whole experience was unforgettable, not least because he stood within metres of Christiano Ronaldo,” said Mo.
Yunus walked away with gifts which included a tog bag, takkies and a soccer ball. But most of all, he walked away with an experience he will never forget.