2010 draw on track

PREPARATIONS for the Soccer World Cup final draw in Cape Town next weekend have reached fever pitch.

The city and Fifa yesterday treated the media to a sneak preview of the enormous set constructed for the final draw on December 4, which will be televised live to more than 130million people in 200 countries.

The 40-metre-wide set, which used about 6,5 tons of steel, consists of a stepped platform backed by three giant video screens and four baobabs.

SABC executive producer of the televised draw show George Mazarakis said the show would make use of the best talent available in South Africa.

Fifa project manager for the draw David Ausseil said there would be a "strong African feel" to the draw. "We think that this show will be different. It will have a strong African feel."

Fifa venue manager Teral Cullen said: "We are just about ready to host this draw show tomorrow if we have to."

She said 3254 staff would be working at the extravaganza - more than 1500 of them security guards and the police.

Just up the road from the International Convention Centre, where the draw takes place, the city's Long Street will be closed for a mega street party.

With big screens broadcasting the final draw, the event will be a test run for next year's Fan Fest venues, where those who cannot make it to the stadium will be able to watch matches live in a party atmosphere.

Though the draw only takes place next-weekend the festivities officially kick off at 7pm on Sunday night when the city holds its annual party at the switching on of the Christmas lights - which this year have a strong soccer theme. Once the final draw is over, the party moves to Khayelitsha.

On December 5 the Street Football World, a nonprofit organisation, will open the first Fifa Football for Hope Centre in Khayelitsha as part of Fifa's promise to build 20 centres in Africa for the 2010 World Cup.