As Durbs hosts preliminary draw

From tomorrow until Sunday, the eyes of the football world will be trained on Durban.

From tomorrow until Sunday, the eyes of the football world will be trained on Durban.

This is the city that will host the first international 2010 Fifa World Cup in the shape of the preliminary draw at the International Convention Centre (ICC) on Sunday.

The undoubted highlight will be the live broadcast of the draw, scheduled to start at 5pm local time in the presence of President Thabo Mbeki, Fifa president Sepp Blatter, some of the best footballers of all time and representatives of more than 110 Fifa member associations.

The ceremony, which includes a section of typical African entertainment, will feature the draw to determine the pairings and groups for the 2010 Fifa World Cup South Africa preliminary competition. Exempt from the draw are South America, whose qualifiers are already under way in a home and away league format, and Oceania, whose preliminary competition began with the South Pacific Games in August.

The draw will commence with the Asian zone, followed by CONCACAF, Europe and finally Africa. The results can also be followed live on

The draw will be conducted by Fifa general secretary Jerome Valcke, who will be able to count on such famous names as South African legends Kaizer Motaung, Jomo Sono and Lucas Radebe, as well as Ali Daei (Iran), George Weah (Liberia), Abedi Pele Ayew (Ghana), Kasey Keller (USA) and Marcel Desailly (France) as his assistants.

"The draw will give viewers all around the world an excellent taste of what lies in store for them in 2010," said Valcke.

"One hundred and seventy territories have booked the TV feed for this event, which is a new Fifa World Cup record and yet more proof of the huge interest in South Africa 2010."

Danny Jordaan, chief executive of the Local Organising Committee (LOC), is equally enthusiastic.

"As the first official associated event of the 2010 Fifa World Cup, the preliminary draw is of paramount importance to us at the organising committee," he said.

"We have a unique opportunity to demonstrate our ability to organise a world-class event to an expectant local, continental and international community.

"We've worked tirelessly for months on end to ensure all is in place for this special occasion and we are confident that all visitors to our country will revel in our uniquely African hospitality."

Meetings of various Fifa bodies and the LOC will take place in Durban before the football family comes together for the draw.

On Saturday the LOC will focus on the final preparations for the draw and the approval of the draw procedure for each of the geographic zones, while also deliberating on the match schedule and ticketing issues.

The world premiere of Anant Singh's More Than Just A Game, a film that recounts the story of the Makana FA, an association founded by the inmates on Robben Island, will take place on 23 November. -