Draw sets up classic clashes
The two star-studded groups for the FIFA Confederations Cup South Africa 2009 are now known, following the official draw in Johannesburg on Saturday.
The curtain was finally pulled down today, ending the suspense over which teams will lock horns in the FIFA Confederations Cup South Africa 2009. Now the only question that remains is who will win the global showpiece in June next year.
The official draw was conducted in Sandton, Johannesburg, shifting the spotlight to the eight nations, who will now use the next six months to prepare for the event. While the eagerly-awaited FIFA Confederations Cup tournament is set to have thrilling encounters, one match that will provide fireworks is the meeting between previous winners, Brazil and Italy.
Presenter Carol Manana kicked off proceedings warming up the crowd for the draw master, FIFA Secretary General Jerome Valcke, to conduct the draw with the assistance of the Miss World finalists from the eight nations participating in next year's tournament.
Hosts South Africa, who were seeded on Group A, will open the competition against Iraq at Ellis Park in Johannesburg on 14 June immediately following the opening ceremony. Brazil, the seeded team in Group B, have been pitted against African champions Egypt, who have won back-to-back CAF Africa Cup of Nations finals
Approximately 900 guests attended the event, including Spanish coach, Vicente Del Bosque, USA boss Bob Bradley, Iraq's Brazil-born manager Jorvan Vieira, Egyptian master tactician Hassan Shehata and South Africa coach Joel Santana.
In his keynote address, chairman of the Organising Committee for 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa and FIFA vice-president, Issa Hayatou, said he was excited about the tournament as it would be the culmination of a long process and "Africa's proudest moment".
"Africa's contribution to football is well documented, our players have made us proud on the world stage and I have no doubt that South Africa will now magnificently represent the qualities of Africa in staging this event," Hayatou, a Cameroonian, said. "Africa is a united football continent that stands together and now claims its rightful place in global footballing history."
2010 FIFA World Cup Local Organising Committee (SALOC) chairman, Irvin Khoza, added that South Africa was determined to ensure that the FIFA Confederations Cup 2009 was a success. "As Africans," he concluded, "we are proud and honoured to host a tournament featuring the reigning world champions, the champions of the six FIFA confederations and our own Bafana Bafana."