With Sunday's Preliminary Draw for the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa™ approaching, Christian Karembeu spoke to FIFA.com about his role as an assistant. Born inNew Caledonia, he did France proud throughout his career, and never more so than when he hoisted the FIFA World Cup™ Trophy aloft at the Stade de France on 12 July 1998.
Since then, the former Nantes, Sampdoria and Real Madrid player has never missed an occasion to put his immense experience to good use.With just a few hours to go before taking part in the Prelimnary Draw for South Africa 2010, Karembeu spoke to FIFA.com about his role as an assistant, the significance of holding the global showcase in Africa and his involvement in the development of football in Oceania. Read these extracts and watch the entire interview by clicking the link on the right.
FIFA.com: Christian, what are your thoughts on your role as an assistant at the2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa™ Preliminary Draw?
I'm very honoured to have been chosen. It gives me immense joy to have been acknowledged by FIFA as a member of the wonderful family of football. This draw is very symbolic as it's being held in Durban less than 1,000 days before the opening match takes place here. I'll try to pass as well with my hands as I used to do with my feet a few years back.
What will the ceremony mean to you, given that it marks the start of the qualifying campaign for the first FIFA World Cup ever to be held in Africa?
It's a major moment. The African continent has provided so many players to various national championships, so it makes sense for us to celebrate that today. It was only the political instability of various countries that got in the way of organising the tournament here earlier. This event goes way beyond football, as the film More Than Just a Game demonstrates perfectly. To see how football helped prisoners dream during the Apartheid era is very moving.
You were born in New Caledonia. Do you think Africa can serve as an example to Oceania?
For now, our main work consists of concentrating on the youngsters. We're trying to educate them through football, so as to give them the best possible grounding. FIFA is helping us enormously with that.
To see the complete FIFA.com video interview with Christian Karembeu, click on the link to the right.