Durban secures a ball for all

Canaan Mdletshe

Canaan Mdletshe

Security has been tightened at major areas in and around Durban for the Fifa preliminary draw scheduled for Sunday.

Police and private security guards will be highly visible.

Obed Mlaba, eThekwini executive mayor, said security has been beefed up to ensure the smooth running of the activities leading up to the draw.

"Starting with the Bafana Bafana match against Canada [today], to the derby between Orlando Pirates and Kaizer Chiefs, we are building up for the big day.

"We want to uphold our pride as a city that is able to organise and arrange world-class tournaments," said Mlaba.

Some of Africa's finest musical talent will perform at what promises to be a highly energetic preliminary draw, the first official Fifa event on African soil.

It will be watched by a global audience of millions.

The exciting musical line-up includes the world-famous Lion King, Lebo M, along with some of the show's famous characters. The Lion King is South Africa's most popular musical export and this week celebrated 10 years on Broadway in New York.

Also among the artists will be one of the most successful bands in the country, Freshlyground, which last year won an MTV Music Award.

The internationally renowned Soweto String Quartet, Judith Sephuma and Afro Tenors will share the stage with one of Africa's most celebrated artists, Senegal's Youssou N'Dour, who will add a distinctive West African flavour to the draw.

Preparations for the event are going extremely well at Durban's International Convention Centre. This will certainly focus world attention on South Africa.

"This is our first opportunity to host a preliminary draw. I know this event is going to blow the minds of the world.

"As South Africans, we need to stick together and be one team. If we can do that, I know Fifa's first event on African soil will be a tremendous success.

"I have all the confidence that we will achieve that. I know it will be a great event," said 2010 Local Organising Committee chief executive Danny Jordan.

The draw will be conducted by Fifa general secretary Jerome Valcke.

South African soccer legends Kaizer Motaung, Jomo Sono and Lucas Radebe as well as Ali Daei (Iran), George Weah (Liberia), Abedi Pele Ayew (Ghana), Kasey Keller (US), former French World Cup winner Christian Karembeu and Marcel Desailly (France) will also attend the draw as Valcke's assistants.