News

    South Africa Readies for Excitement of World Cup Draw

    Hundreds of millions of football, or soccer, fans in some 200 countries are expected to tune in Friday for the World Cup draw in South Africa.

    General view of Coca Cola Park in Johannesburg, 01 Dec 2009
    General view of Coca Cola Park in Johannesburg, 01 Dec 2009

    Hundreds of millions of football, or soccer, fans in some 200 countries are expected to tune in Friday for the World Cup draw in South Africa.  The draw determines which teams will play in what groups during Africa's first World Cup.

    The solid gold World Cup trophy arrived in Cape Town Thursday and the executive committee of football's governing body, FIFA, met on historic Robben Island as the final countdown began for next year's World Cup.

    The head of the local organizing committee, Danny Jordaan, said the draw would allow organizers to finalize lodging and transportation arrangements for the 32 teams and the estimated 450,000 fans expected to attend.

    "This is really the real kick off of the World Cup," said Jordaan. "It is about the groups.  It is about the fixtures [games].  It is about the match venues.  So everybody can go into finally fine-tuning their operational plans."

    The names of the 32 teams have been placed into one of four pots.  One team from each pot will be chosen by random to play in each of the eight groups.

    South Africa, as host, has been seeded in the first pot with the world's seven top-seeded teams, as ranked by FIFA.  These include Brazil, Spain, Italy, England, Germany, Netherlands and Argentina.

    This means South Africa will not play any of these teams in the first round.

    The second pot contains teams from Asia, Oceania and North and Central America.  Mexico and the United States are the higher ranked teams in this group, which also includes Australia, Japan, South Korea, North Korea, New Zealand and Honduras.

    The third pot contains unseeded teams from Africa and South America.  Ivory Coast and Chile are highly regarded here. They are joined by Algeria, Cameroon, Ghana, Nigeria, Paraguay and Uruguay.

    The fourth pot includes the unseeded European teams.  France and Portugal are viewed as strong although both struggled to qualify. The remaining teams are Denmark, Greece, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia and Switzerland.

    France qualified last month after beating Ireland by a goal scored off a handball by Captain Thierry Henry that was missed by referees.  This led to calls for more referees on the field and the possible use of video replays in important games.

    FIFA head Sepp Blatter acknowledged the controversy but said it was too late to make changes for this World Cup.

    "On the field of play we will have only one referee and two assistants," said Blatter. "This is for 2010.  Definite.  It will not be discussed.  Later on we will see how it works."

    He said a disciplinary committee would examine the violation in the France-Ireland game, which could lead to a one-game suspension for Henry at the start of the tournament.

    Blatter also said the disciplinary committee would examine the incidents that arose after a controversial match between Egypt and Algeria that has strained relations between the two countries.  

    Organizers say Friday's draw will have a distinctly African flavor and the government has spent several billion dollars upgrading stadiums, airports, roads and security services in preparation for Africa's first World Cup.

    Western Cape Province Premier Hellen Zille said hopefully the investment will pay off.

    "We have all taken a leap forward as a country, but we are also doing that because we hope that there will be a return on that investment in terms of tourism," said Zille. "And so it is a calculated investment, and I think that people will be very wise to come and see what we have done."

    Officials say work on the 10 stadiums to be used during the Cup is 95 percent finished.  And FIFA says it has secured most of the 55,000 rooms it requires for the tournament.

    Officials say one-fourth of the three million tickets have been sold.  They expect sales to skyrocket next week after fans learn when and where their favorite teams will play.  
     

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibiti
    X
    Hamada Elsaram
    February 05, 2016 4:30 PM
    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibit

    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video E-readers Help Ease Africa's Book Shortage

    Millions of people in Africa can't read, and there's a chronic shortage of books. A non-profit organization called Worldreader is trying to help change all that one e-reader at a time. VOA’s Deborah Block tells us about a girls' school in Nairobi, Kenya where Worldreader is making a difference.
    Video

    Video Genius Lets World Share Its Knowledge

    Inspired by crowdsourcing companies like Wikipedia, Genius allows anyone to edit anything on the web, using its web annotation tool
    Video

    Video Former Drug CEO Martin Shkreli Angers US Lawmakers

    A former U.S. pharmaceutical business executive has angered lawmakers by refusing to explain why he raised the price of a life-saving pill by 5,000 percent. Martin Shkreli was removed from a congressional hearing on Thursday after citing his Fifth Amendment right to stay silent. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Super Bowl TV Commercials are Super Business for Advertisers

    The Super Bowl, the championship clash between the two top teams in American Football, is the most-watched sporting event of the year, and advertisers are lining up and paying big bucks to get their commercials on the air. In fact, the TV commercials during the Super Bowl have become one of the most anticipated and popular features of the event. VOA's Brian Allen has a sneak peek of what you can expect to see when the big game goes to commercial break, and the real entertainment begins.
    Video

    Video In Philippines, Mixed Feelings About Greater US Military Presence

    In the Philippines, some who will be directly affected by a recent Supreme Court decision clearing the way for more United States troop visits are having mixed reactions.  The increased rotations come at a time when the Philippines is trying to build up its military in the face of growing maritime assertiveness from China.  From Bahile, Palawan on the coast of the South China Sea, Simone Orendain has this story.
    Video

    Video Microcephaly's Connection to Zika: Guilty Until Proven Innocent

    The Zika virus rarely causes problems for the people who get it, but it seems to be having a devastating impact on babies whose mothers are infected with Zika. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
    Video

    Video Solar Innovation Provides Cheap, Clean Energy to Kenya Residents

    In Kenya, a company called M-Kopa Solar is providing clean energy to more than 300,000 homes across East Africa by allowing customers to "pay-as-you-go" via their cell phones. As Lenny Ruvaga reports from Kangemi, customers pay a small deposit for a solar unit and then pay less than a dollar a day to get clean energy to light up their homes or businesses.
    Video

    Video Stunning Artworks Attract Record Crowds, Thanks to Social Media

    A new exhibit at the oldest art museum in America is shattering attendance records. Thousands of visitors are lining up to see nine giant works of art that have gotten a much-deserved shot of viral marketing. The 150-year-old Smithsonian American Art Museum has never had a response quite like this. VOA's Julie Taboh reports.
    Video

    Video Apprenticeships Put Americans on Path Back to Work

    Trying to get more people into the U.S. workforce, the Obama administration last year announced $175 million in grants towards apprenticeship programs. VOA White House correspondent Aru Pande went inside one training center outside of Washington that has gained national recognition for helping put people on the path to employment.
    Video

    Video New Material May Reduce Concussion Effects

    As the 2016 National Football League season reaches its summit at the Super Bowl this coming Sunday (2/7), scientists are trying to learn how to more effectively protect football players from dangerous and damaging concussions. Researchers at Cardiff and Cambridge Universities say their origami-based material may solve the problem. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Saudi Arabian Women's Sports Chip Away at Stereotypes

    Saudi Arabian female athletes say that sports are on the front line of busting traditions that quash women’s voices, both locally and internationally. In their hometown of Jeddah, a group of basketball players say that by connecting sports to health issues, they are encouraging women and girls to get out of their homes and participate in public life. VOA’s Heather Murdock reports.
    Video

    Video A Year Later, Fortunes Mixed for Syrians Forging New Lives in Berlin

    In April of last year, VOA followed the progress of six young Syrian refugees -- four brothers and their two friends -- as they made their way from Libya to Italy by boat, and eventually to Germany. Reporter Henry Ridgwell caught up with the refugees again in Berlin, as they struggle to forge new lives amid the turmoil of Europe's refugee crisis.
    Video

    Video Zika Virus May be Hard to Stop

    With the Zika virus spreading rapidly, the World Health Organization Monday declared Zika a global health emergency. As Alberto Pimienta reports, for many governments and experts, the worst is yet to come.