A few hours before kick-off and Ellis Park stadium is bustling as final preparations are put in place for Africa's first major FIFA tournament.

There is hardly an idle sole in sight as people move in and out of offices, corridors, marquees, loading vans and sections of the stadium making sure that everything is in order.

Caterers are taking platters of food up to the VIP areas, volunteers are reporting to their posts, security personnel are briefing stadium ushers, cleaners are mopping and sweeping, media officials are doing their technical checks and technicians are attending to last minute cabling and connecting.

Arguably the most important preparations taking place this morning are those on the pitch. Since 06h00 the maintenance staff have been walking the length and breadth of the field double checking that the morning fog has not damaged the field lines and ensuring that South Africa and Iraq will be playing on a world-class surface this afternoon at the 16h00 kick-off.

Traditionally a rugby pitch, Ellis Park has been expertly converted into a world-class football field and for pitch expert, Professor Ronnie Schloss, who has been overseeing the process, it is all systems go for the FIFA Confederations Cup.

"We've had a land surveyor check that the pitch complies with FIFA standards. Everything is in order and we are ready to officially hand over the pitch to the LOC at 11h00 today."

As the morning progresses and Johannesburg's winter sunshine warms the Ellis Park precinct, anticipation begins to brew. The readiness is seen in the faces of cooks, security personnel, volunteers, sports administrators, journalists, venue managers, technicians, Organising Committee staff and FIFA officials.

Beyond the stadium soccer fans across the country are waking up to a new day - the day on which the first FIFA Confederations Cup to be hosted on African soil officially begins.

South Africa is ready!