braced foR big draw

ON THE WAY: Fifa president Sepp Blatter.Circa 2008.  © Unknown
ON THE WAY: Fifa president Sepp Blatter.Circa 2008. © Unknown

All reports by Ramatsiyi Moholoa

All reports by Ramatsiyi Moholoa

With only two weeks to go to the 2009 Confederations Cup draw, the Local Organising Committee is pulling out all the stops to put on one of the greatest shows on earth.

The draw for the eight- nation event, also known as the Festival of Champions, will take place in Sandton on November 22.

Irvin Khoza, chairman of the LOC board and executive committee, said they were highly impressed by the preparations.

The draw is expected to be attended by global soccer leaders including Sepp Blatter of Fifa, Issa Hayatou of CAF, Michel Platini of Uefa and Germany 2006 World Cup chief Franz Beckenbauer.

"After the incredible 2010 World Cup preliminary draw in Durban in 2007, we are putting together an even more exciting show for Sandton," said Khoza.

"The preparations are at an advanced stage - there was a food tasting ceremony for the banquet where 250 dignitaries will attend."

Fifa will also use the event to unveil their headquarters for the Confederations Cup and World Cup in Sandton.

After the executive committee's inspection tour last week, Khoza said they were encouraged by the level of commitment in all four Confederations Cup host cities.

"Tickets go on sale on November 23, all the seats must be installed or marked seating rows be in place so that all the tickets will be numbered when the sale starts."

Khoza said the biggest challenges facing three of the four venues - Loftus, Royal Bafokeng and Free State - was the installation of seats.

The refurbishing of Ellis Park, which was praised by Blatter in his recent visit, was going according to plan.

The installation of an additional 5 500 seats at Royal Bafokeng Stadium is under way.

In Pretoria, builders at Loftus are working extra shifts to complete the installation of seats on time.