South Africa is rolling out the red carpet for a five-man inspection team from FIFA, world football's governing body. During their weeklong visit, the FIFA officials will check on the country's capability of hosting the 2010 World Cup, which will be the first held in Africa.
The FIFA team is led by Jan Peters, the president of the Belgian Football Association. The FIFA representatives are scheduled to meet October 31st with South African President Thabo Mbeki in Pretoria.
Danny Jordaan, the chief executive officer of South Africa's 2010 World Cup bid committee, says he's also working on setting up a meeting between the FIFA team and former South African President Nelson Mandela. Last week, Mr. Mandela met FIFA President Joseph "Sepp" Blatter in Switzerland to lobby for the South African bid.
South Africa lost a controversial vote to Germany for the right to host the 2006 World Cup. This time around, the South Africans will try to fend off four rival bids from north Africa. Egypt, Libya, Morocco and Tunisia are also bidding for the 2010 World Cup. FIFA will announce the winner of the 2010 World Cup in May 2004.