Preliminary draw a defining moment for South Africa
The South African Fifa 2010 World Cup Local Organising Committee wants to make a statement with the presentation of the preliminary draw at the Inkosi Albert Luthuli International Convention Centre in Durban on Sunday afternoon.
This was said by LOC chief executive Danny Jordaan at a media briefing yesterday, adding that "if there are any doubting Thomases among you today, after Sunday we want to have only Thomases".
Jordaan, who shared the stage with Fifa general secretary Jerome Valcke, was also quick to point out to the international media that in this country "the right to strike is a fundamental workers' right and there is nothing you can do about it", in obvious reference to the recent strikes by workers at stadiums earmarked to host the World Cup games in 2010 and the Confederations Cup in 2009.
"It is also our right and duty to Fifa to deliver the necessary infrastructure on time. The workers understand this and we are currently running ahead of this. In places like Soccer City workers can be found working until late in the evening," said Jordaan.
"There is commitment and support on the part of the workers. It must also be made known that [trade union federation] Cosatu's general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi is a member of the board and we are happy that the issue with the stadium in Durban has been resolved as there are other challenges to meet," he said.
So far the World Cup has created 14100 jobs in the country and that is one element that could contribute to the reduction of crime, which is an issue people are always pointing out when addressing the hosting of the event in South Africa.
Valcke also pointed out that Fifa was looking at what's happening in terms of the strikes and was concerned that the country would not deliver on time.
"So far things are on track, but it's of additional concern each time this happens and we hope a solution is found quick," he said.
Jordaan said the issue is similar to losing a week's progress because of rain. The workers will make up for the lost time because there is a commitment to deliver on time.
This is not a unique situation to South Africa, as it happens in the rest of the world.
Valcke said it has been Fifa's experience that once the World Cup starts, issues of violence are almost always never heard of.
"Nothing usually happens during the event itself and we are going to make sure this event caters for all the people with all the cities having fan parks.
"We are going to put up a show, not only for a few people but for all."
The official emblem of the 2009 Confederations Cup was also launched yesterday afternoon by Fifa and the LOC, who had former Bafana Bafana captain Lucas Radebe, coach Carlos Alberto Parreira and former France captain Marcel Desailly on the podium reminiscing about the one they were involved in in Saudi Arabia in 1997.
Parreira said: "The Confederations Cup is a great dress rehearsal for the real deal the next year. It helps give the host country and those participating in it the chance to get a test run.
"It is wonderful to take part in it as it is great preparation for those taking part to know what to expect and the host nation to know what needs to be improved in their facilities.
"All was quiet in Germany for some time and the country came alive with the Confederations Cup, which ignited World Cup fever."
There are going to be 170 countries going into Sunday's draw with those in Asia, Concacaf, Europe and Africa going into the hat.
But, after the Euro qualifiers played on Wednesday, Fifa is still waiting for the Coca-Cola rankings to be released, possibly by tomorrow to finalise the procedure.