All set for World Cup draw

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src='' class='caption'> The World Cup will resonate to a distinctly African beat for the first time on Friday when the final draw is made for next year's sporting spectacular.

Updated: December 04, 2009 17:28 IST
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Cape Town:

The World Cup will resonate to a distinctly African beat for the first time on Friday when the final draw is made for next year's sporting spectacular.

Eighty years and 18 tournaments since the first World Cup was held in Uruguay, when only 13 teams took part, none of them African, an African nation will host the event for the first time with 32 countries vying for the biggest prize in sport.

Commenting on the significance of the occasion, FIFA president Sepp Blatter said: "This is a very important event for football and Africa as the final draw comes to Cape Town where an unprecedented six teams from the host continent will be represented.

"We expect a record global audience which I hope will be glued to their screens for the duration of the show."

That show has taken a year of preparations to put together and includes performances by Grammy award-winners Soweto Gospel Choir, Beninese singer-songwriter Angelique Kidjo and one of South Africa's favourite solo musicians, Johnny Clegg.

The grand finale will feature 80 artists including the internationally acclaimed musical ensemble Africa Umoja.

African beats will echo throughout the show which will reach a fitting climax at the moment when the 32 teams discover who they will be playing and when during the June 11-July 11 tournament.

The guest presenter to assist FIFA secretary general Jerome Valcke make the draw at the Cape Town International Convention Centre will be South Africa's Academy Award winner Charlize Theron.

They will be joined on stage by a line-up of sports celebrities, including football star David Beckham, who is hugely popular in South Africa, marathon champion Haile Gebrselassie, the first black player in the South African cricket team, Makhaya Ntini, and John Smit, the captain of rugby world champions South Africa.

Among dignitaries attending will be South African President Jacob Zuma, Nobel Peace Prize winners Frederik W. de Klerk and Archbishop Desmond Tutu, as well as former football icons such as Franz Beckenbauer, Michel Platini, Eusebio and Roger Milla.

Former president Nelson Mandela, who played a leading role in winning South Africa the right to host the World Cup seven years ago, will address the audience by video message.

And then there will be most of the 32 coaches of the qualified teams eager to learn what their opposition will be in six months' time when the action gets underway in the month-long showpiece.

The draw itself sees the 32 teams divided into four pots of eight from which the eight groups that will contest the first round will be drawn.

The first pot will consist of hosts South Africa, and the seven top-ranking world teams - holders Italy, five-times winners Brazil, former champions Argentina, Germany and England and two teams yet to hoist the World Cup in Spain and the Netherlands.

Pot 2 will have the four Asian qualifiers, the three from North and Central America and rank outsiders New Zealand representing Oceania.

Pot 3 sees the remaining five African sides grouped with the remaining three South American, while the final pot consists of the remaining European qualifiers.

Among the latter will be 1998 champions France and 2006 semi-finalists Portugal, and where they end up will likely go a long way to designating the inevitable Group of Death.

It will all take 90 minutes and when it is over the talking will begin.

It is unlikely to stop until South Africa fittingly plays the opening game of the first World Cup on African soil in Johannesburg on June 11.

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