Well done, give yourselves a big pat on the back

For weeks I have been writing about the preparations for an event that many of us could just imagine.

For weeks I have been writing about the preparations for an event that many of us could just imagine.

Well, now it has happened and I hope that the event and the show lived up to your expectations. It is a precursor obviously to the bidder shows such as the Confederations Cup and the World Cup in 2010 but the preliminary draw has a life and personality all of its own.

As we have always said, the South African event had to be the most spectacular to dispel the views that we are incapable and to affirm that we were serious when we said the African World Cup has to be the best.

The planning was long and exhaustive and the implementation was quite intense.

It all started at least two weeks ago when the advance teams went to Durban, to start the initial preparations and then went into overdrive early last week.

The accommodation had to be booked in advance whilst the transport routes and means, as well as protocol requirements, had to be determined and drilled.

Ahead of everything the volunteers had to be trained and familiarised with their new tasks and there were plenty of willing compatriots willing to serve in any role.

The beauty of it was to see such a large number of young South Africans take part as volunteers in this project.

Several partners played a role in the delivery of this event, starting first with the LOC of the World Cup and Fifa, the city of Durban, SAB, service providers, especially Wisdom Keys and Combined Artists.

Putting a project of this nature and magnitude is a major task. Many of my colleagues were involved in setting up accreditation systems, logistics, IT, branding, security, invitations and bookings, show production, event management, and other tasks.

To do it exceptionally well requires total dedication and commitment and that was provided in large doses.

The draw show on Sunday was definitely the highlight of the whole week's programme and thus the attendance by over 130 football associations from around the world.

The show was tight and entertaining. The draw a bit painful for some such as England who drew Croatia a few days after being dumped out of the Euro 2008 by the very same country.

As much as most of the focus was on the draw, many of the media professionals, over 500 of them, were interested in the World Cup preparations and thus the number of briefings and interviews that were given.

Behind the scenes a number of deliberations were taking place and decisions were being taken. The week for us as the organising committee was a success because we achieved what we set out to achieve and my colleagues can be proud of their work.

In the media centre itself, the working journalists could not stop raving about the services and support they were being provided with.

The broadcasters and sponsors were very pleased with the presentations of the new logo for the Confederations Cup, the new poster for the World Cup and the various displays in the centre.

The football ambassadors, Doctor Khumalo, Kalusha Bwalya, Marcel Desailly were very complimentary of the respect they were accorded.

The main man himself, the President of Fifa, Sepp Blatter, was beaming from ear to ear as he once again reiterated his confidence in South Africa.

I believe everybody involved in this project, particularly the volunteers, should be proud of the excellent work they did in making the draw the success that it was.

The last word on the matter should go to the LOC chairman Irvin Khoza, who proclaimed words that were reiterated and confirmed by President Thabo Mbeki, that 'Ke nako'. Celebrate Africa's humanity'.

It's about time.

l Tim Modise is the 2010 World Cup SA Local Organising Committee's head of communications. - For your suggestions, queries and more on 2010 e.mailTimM@2010saloc.com