South Africans hoping for favourable
World Cup draw
Children cheer as they pose for photographers before a FIFA Executive Committee
meeting in Robben Island, South Africa. (Dec. 3, 2009)
Victor R. Caivano/The Associated Press
Join the Star's Chris Young and Cathal Kelly as they live blog the 2010 World Cup draw,
beginning at 11:45 a.m. Friday, Dec.4.
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CAPE TOWN, SOUTH AFRICA – South Africa may need a little bit of luck in Friday's
World Cup draw to have a chance of advancing from the group stage of the tournament,
the first to be played on African soil.
The hosts are one of the eight seeded teams but could still be faced with the possibly of
France, the United States and Chile in Group A. It could also get an easier schedule of
facing New Zealand, Uruguay and Slovenia.
"The draw can produce anything," World Cup chief executive Danny Jordaan told The
Associated Press. "We hope on the luck of the draw. It is important for us as the host
nations that our team must progress in the second round and we will keep our fingers
FIFA secretary general Jerome Valcke and South African Oscar-winning actress Charlize
Theron will choose the balls from the four pots to create the eight groups. With the
exception of European teams, countries from the same geographical confederation cannot
be drawn into the same group.
France is the highest-ranked team to miss out on being seeded, and could end up facing
powerhouses like Spain or Brazil in the opening group stage.
"I just hope that we won't end up in the toughest group," French federation president
Jean-Pierre Escalettes said.
The toughest group possible would involve the French playing with European champion
Spain, Cameroon and the United States. All four of those teams are in the top 15 of
"We hope for a group where you feel like it gives a good opportunity to move forward,"
United States coach Bob Bradley said.
The draw will have four pots, with one team from each going into one of the eight
groups. Pot 1 contains the eight seeded teams, Pot 2 will have the Asian and
CONCACAF teams, Pot 3 will have African and South American teams, and Pot 4 will
have the eight unseeded European teams.
After a series of disappointing results and a recent change of coach, South African fans
are wondering how the team will perform as hosts.
"Can we give a good performance. Can we emulate what the South Koreans did?" said
Rustenburg Platinum Stars coach Steve Komphelo, referring to the 2002 World Cup
when co-host South Korea reached the semifinals. "Can we hit the final? Can we be a
Besides South Africa, the other seeded teams are Brazil, Spain, the Netherlands,
defending champion Italy, Germany, Argentina and England.
And apart from France, the top teams will also hope to avoid Portugal, which is led by
world player of the year Cristiano Ronaldo.
The draw ceremony – under the iconic Table Mountain – is being set up as a truly
African celebration. Nobel Peace laureates Archbishop Desmond Tutu and Frederik W.
de Klerk will be among the star-studded cast, and former South Africa President Nelson
Mandela will address the crowd of 3,000 through a video message.
At 91, Mandela is frail and makes few public appearances.