Counting down to kick-off

Two of New Zealand's promising young football players took training to new heights last week - playing one of the highest games of keepy-uppy the world has possibly ever seen.

Footballers Deklan Wynne and Clayton Lewis juggled the ball a dizzying 192 metres above the ground on the SkyWalk platform of Auckland's Sky Tower, to mark 30 days until the start of the FIFA U-20 World Cup 2015.

The stunt was jointly organised by Tourism New Zealand, Auckland Tourism, Events and Economic Development and FIFA's Local Organising Committee as part of a programme of football-related activity taking place in the build-up to the tournament.  

Tourism New Zealand's GM PR and Major Events, Rebecca Ingram, says that the unconventional training session was an "exciting milestone" in the countdown to the opening match between New Zealand and the Ukraine on 30 May.

"The FIFA U-20 World Cup will capture the attention of football fans around the world and international media will be shining a spotlight on New Zealand during the course of the tournament."

Rebecca Ingram, General Manager PR and Major Events

"We will be working to capitalise on that international attention and tell the story of New Zealand as not only a great place to hold international sporting events, but a fantastic place to visit."

Tourism New Zealand has identified the competition as a key opportunity for engaging with the emerging visitor market of Latin America.

"South Americans are well known for their love of the 'beautiful game' and many of the 200 million global viewers will tune in from the continent, providing us with a fantastic opportunity to profile New Zealand to a whole new audience of potential visitors", says Rebecca.

Tourism New Zealand's programme of activity around the tournament centres around providing content for international media and hosting media outlets from the key markets of Germany and Brazil.

There will also be organised tourism activities for teams (covered by international media), with the aim to showcase New Zealand's tourism offerings beyond the stadiums and generate word-of-mouth recommendation for the players' international followers.

The FIFA U-20 World Cup 2015 is the largest football tournament to be staged in New Zealand to date and will be broadcast to more than 100 countries worldwide.