Big kickoff spectacle

IT'S been six years in the making and South Africa is ready to dazzle the world today with an extravaganza of an opening ceremony.

IT'S been six years in the making and South Africa is ready to dazzle the world today with an extravaganza of an opening ceremony.

With more than 1500 performers showcasing their artistry to the world, they will usher in a historical moment in Fifa's illustrious 106-year history: the first soccer World Cup on African soil.

Earlier in the week LOC chief executive Danny Jordaan told the performers: "You'll be the first to (take) the pitch, even before Bafana Bafana, so the World Cup starts not with Bafana but with you."

LOC marketing chief Derek Carstens said the show and the cast were "looking lekker".

Though the creators of what is expected to be a tantalising entrée before the beginning of the grandest show ever were insistent on having more time to iron out a few details, stadium inspectors would only allow one dress rehearsal to protect the turf.

Nevertheless, the show must go on.

Today's ceremony will include a traditional dancing troupe accompanied by trumpeters and drummers, while hundreds of other performers will form a human chain-link that will spell out "South Africa" in the colours of the national flag.

Flag bearers and mascots will parade in the centre of the 94000 capacity stadium, while Africa's icon, Madiba, watches on.

Carstens urged people to arrive early and be seated by 1.45pm. The show starts promptly at 2pm and will run for 30 minutes, after which President Jacob Zuma will make his speech.

Then the two teams will make their way on to the pitch for warm-ups.

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