From 22 to 25 November, the eyes of the football world will be trained on Durban, the city that will host the first international 2010 FIFA World Cup™ event in the shape of the preliminary draw at the International Convention Centre (ICC) on Sunday, 25 November 2007. The undoubted highlight will be the live broadcast of the draw, scheduled to start at 17.00h local time (16.00h CET) in the presence of South African President Thabo Mbeki, FIFA President Joseph S. Blatter, some of the best footballers of all time and representatives of more than 110 FIFA member associations.
The ceremony, which includes a section of typical African entertainment, will feature the draw to determine the pairings and groups for the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa™ preliminary competition. Exempt from the draw are South America, whose qualifiers are already underway in a home-and-away league format, and Oceania, whose preliminary competition began with the South Pacific Games in August 2007. The draw will commence with the Asian zone, followed by CONCACAF, Europe and finally Africa. The results can also be followed live on FIFA.com.
The draw will be conducted by FIFA General Secretary Jérôme Valcke, who will be able to count on such famous names as South African legends Kaizer Motaung, Jomo Sono and Lucas Radebe as well as Ali Daei (Iran), George Weah (Liberia), Abedi Pelé Ayew (Ghana), Kasey Keller (USA) and Marcel Desailly (France) as his assistants. "The draw will give viewers all around the world an excellent taste of what lies in store for them in 2010," said Valcke. "170 territories have booked the TV feed for this event, which is a new FIFA World Cup record and yet more proof of the huge interest in South Africa 2010."
Dr Danny Jordaan, the Chief Executive of South Africa's Local Organising Committee, is equally enthusiastic: "As the first official associated event of the 2010 FIFA World Cup, the preliminary draw is of paramount importance to us at the organising committee. We have a unique opportunity to demonstrate our ability to organise a world-class event to an expectant local, continental and international community. We've worked tirelessly for months on end to ensure all is in place for this special occasion and we are confident that all visitors to our country will revel in our uniquely African hospitality."
Meetings of various FIFA bodies and the local organising committee will take place in South Africa's port city on the Indian Ocean before the football family comes together for the draw (see programme overleaf). On Saturday, 24 November, the Organising Committee for the FIFA World Cup™ will focus on the final preparations for the draw and the approval of the draw procedure for each of the geographic zones while also deliberating on the match schedule and ticketing issues. The world premiere of Anant Singh's More Than Just A Game, a film that recounts the story of the Makana FA, an association founded by the inmates on Robben Island, will take place on 23 November.