A great time was had by all at the Vodacom Red Family Day at Loftus Versfeld last Saturday.
You won’t find the name of Johanna de Vos on the staff at Loftus Versfeld. But every Tuesday, when the Vodacom Bulls practice on the B Field, she is on the touchline, with the oranges she
always cuts for the players. For the players and team staff, tannie Johanna is exactly what the #BullsFamily is all about.
‘She is here every Tuesday and in her own way makes an effort to ensure the players are happy when they practice,’ said team logistics manager Elias Bennet as he walked around Loftus Versfeld on a day on which people like tannie Johanna were being celebrated.
The Vodacom Red Family Day on Saturday 29 September celebrated exactly this aspect of the Bulls, which possibly more than any other sports franchise in South Africa has taken ownership of what it means to be part of the extended #BullsFamily.
The Vodacom Red Family Day formed part of a range of once-in-a-lifetime experiences the sponsors has offered its leading customers this season as a thank you for their loyalty.
The 205 lucky families who won the chance to be part of this experience joined the players and their families as well as celebrities such as actors Shona and Connie Ferguson, actor Thapelo Mokoena and Jacaranda FM presenter Elana Afrika-Bredenkamp in a day of family fun and games. Young fans were given exclusive access to their favourite players, and the families could watch the Rugby Championship Test between the Springboks and Australia on the big screen at Loftus.
It was a day of picnic blankets on the grass of the main field and time spent together that was as valuable for the players and team staff as it was for the fans and their families.
‘We travel so much and are away from our own families a lot, so days like this are just fantastic to share with our families,’ said Bennet. ‘It’s because of this that I love what I do at the Vodacom Bulls and I don’t see myself at any other union. We are great as a family on and off the field. From our CEO Barend van Graan right down to the under-19 team, we really are a family here and everybody tries to remember that when we go to work.’
It was a day when the players arrived at Loftus Versfeld not with kit bags, but rather pushing prams.
‘This is wonderful and an amazing initiative by Vodacom Red. Just to be able to relax in such a family-friendly environment is so special. I mean look at all the people enjoying this. To see that on a field where I play is amazing. You’re blessed as a player at this union. You’re really part of an extended family, and you feel it when you walk in the shops and people are even friendly to my wife and kids,’ said Vodacom Bulls prop Lizo Gqoboka.
‘As a player, you’re happy on the field when you’re happy off it,’ added winger Travis Ismaiel. ‘We spend a lot of time away from home, so to have Vodacom Red put together a day like this which you can spend with your family rather than doing a signing session alone somewhere is really special.’
Fan Johann Basson, clutching an armful of prizes won by his two young boys, summed up the Vodacom Red Family Day experience best when he said, ‘Where else do you get an opportunity like this? I watch a lot of rugby and travel to Kings Park and Newlands, and it’s nothing like here at Loftus Versfeld. There it’s kind of hit and run, but here it’s very much a family atmosphere. I’d almost say at other stadiums it’s just members getting together, but here it’s family.’
Don’t miss out on the Vodacom Red 4×4 coming up in November. Visit www.vodacom.co.za/redrewards for more information.