With the excitement mounting a month out from the Final Draw for the 2010 FIFA World Cup™, 362 people who'll be serving as volunteers during the event gathered in Cape Town to start their training.
While the notorious south-easterly wind blustered outside, the mood inside Cape Town's Good Hope Centre this past weekend was one of nervous energy as the group made preliminary introductions while wondering about the hard work in store for them during the Final Draw that will decide the groups for the World Cup.
No more so than 21-year-old Akhona Mahangu, a third-year communications student at the University of the Western Cape.
"I'm really excited about being involved at the Final Draw because I don't know what to expect," she said.
She needn't have been overly trepidacious though, as an opening day programme that included learning the South African Tourism launched ‘Diski Dance' quickly had everyone at ease and anticipating an exciting Final Draw show packed with dancing and singing.
Of course, the 4 December show will primarily be about the not so little matter of deciding who will play who and where during the 2010 FIFA World Cup but for South Africa, and particularly Cape Town, it presents another opportunity to showcase that the country is ready to welcome the world - and have fun.
The volunteer team recruited by the 2010 FIFA World Cup Organising Committee South Africa (OC) for the all-important day represents the cream of the crop from the 1965 applicants featuring some familiar faces.
"Among the group we have people who've already served as volunteers at the Preliminary Draw, the Confederations Cup draw and tournament itself," said OC Volunteer Manager, Onke Mjo.
"They represent the star performers and we're sure that we'll identify many more star performers on the weekend of the Final Draw.
"I'm always humbled by the praise our volunteers get from people who've encountered them but I'm not entirely surprised because South Africans have really been enthusiastic and committed to the point of taking time off work to ‘put their hands' up to make sure the FIFA World Cup is a success," added Mjo.
As has been the case throughout the volunteer programme the chosen group have been divided into specific functional areas primarily related to their skills set - which they focused on during the rest of the weekend. In terms of the Final Draw these areas are: Accrediation, Administration, Language Support, IT & T, Logistics, Marketing, Media, Protocol, Transport, Volunteer Management and Welcome and Information Services.
For Fazeela Salie, a secretary at the Cape Peninsula University of Technology, fulfilling these roles successfully shouldn't just be seen as giving of yourself for little reward.
"I will be working in administration at the Final Draw which means I will be meeting some VIPs. To me being a volunteer at such a big event really has its own rewards in that regard. I can't wait."
As further support on the Final Draw weekend, 30 more people will be stationed at the OR Tambo International Airport. Their primary functional area will be to welcome and inform the guests and also offer language support for non-English speaking visitors.