Feb
23
2008
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2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa™ – Resounding success

FIFA Early Warning System GmbH has confirmed that were no irregular betting activities during the first phase of the 2010 FIFA World Cup™ preliminary competition. It can therefore be concluded that there were no attempts from betting circles to influence or manipulate the approximately 90 matches that were played between August and late November 2007. In recent months, leading bookmakers, betting operators and betting organisations have signed up to the early warning system and pledged to report any incidences of irregular betting patterns. This system will be developed further in the months to come.
The preliminary draw, held against the backdrop of a varied, colourful and exciting show in Durban on 25 November 2007, marked the first major highlight in the run-up to the forthcoming FIFA World Cup™ in South Africa.
Master of ceremonies Robert Marawa presented the programme, which, right at the start of the 90-minute event, welcomed two Presidents to the modern revolving Africa-shaped stage. South Africa’s President Thabo Mbeki and FIFA President Joseph S. Blatter both turned to the audience and to the millions of viewers at home to stress the importance of the world’s greatest single-sport event, not only for the country on the Cape of Good Hope but also for the rest of the world. They both expressed their delight that the World Cup was being held in Africa for the first time ever. Blatter believes that it is high time for FIFA’s most prestigious competition to be staged on the continent that has provided football with so many thrilling games and has given the world so many brilliant players. Neither does he have the slightest doubt regarding the success of the tournament.
FIFA General Secretary Jerome Valcke assumed the role of draw master, making the draw procedure – at first sight perhaps complicated – crystal clear even to the uninitiated. Several football legends acted as assistants, including South Africa’s Lucas Radebe, Jomo Sono and Kaizer Motaung as well as former professional stars Abedi Pele and Ali Daei. Some sections of the draw caused murmurs to rumble through the audience, such as when South Africa were drawn against Nigeria in the Africa Cup of Nations (which also serves as the World Cup qualifiers, although South Africa automatically qualify as hosts) or when it was announced that there would be yet another encounter between England and Croatia, who only recently had a memorable clash in the qualifying round for EURO 2008.
The climax of the show was left to Irvin Khoza, chairman of the local organising committee of the 2010 FIFA World Cup™, to unveil the official motto: “Ke Nako. Celebrate Africa’s Humanity”.
The performances for the show in Durban were varied and well balanced. A wide range of attractive turns, including top-class jazz delivered by Judith Sephuma, excerpts from The Lion King musical, the MTV award-winning band, Freshlyground, and an impressive rendition from the Afro Tenors, rounded off a subtle and spectacular show without a note of extravagance.
Many other events were held in Durban in tune with the draw. The world premiere of the film, More than a Game, also took place, recounting the true and moving story of the heroic political prisoners on Robben Island who founded their own football association (Makana Football Association).
Joseph S. Blatter made the most of his stay to view the construction site of the Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban, a visit which turned into a triumphal procession for the FIFA President. Everyone in South Africa appears to know just how much time and energy he has always invested in ensuring that the African continent be awarded its first ever World Cup.
The conclusion from the draw in Durban is short but sweet. The manner in which the hosts of the 2010 FIFA World Cup™ passed their first test was unparalleled and they truly earned the audience’s thundering applause.