African FIFA Final Draw show disappoints

Given the amount of effort that was put into the production of the FIFA Final Draw show, which was broadcast to 700 million viewers in 200 countries, the one hour show was disappointing, and an opportunity lost for the marketing of Cape Town and South Africa, reflecting an ueber-African theme.   Local producer George Mazarakis’ claim that this would be the best Final Draw production did not live up to his promise.

While the footage on Sky News showed that the entrance to the Cape Town International Convention Centre was beautifully decorated with murals depicting various aspects of Cape Town, including a huge Table Mountain and other iconic visuals, and real proteas, there was no visual representation of Cape Town or the country inside the show venue, the stage being largely bare, with only the screen, the podium, and the very valuable World Cup in front of it.

Video after video was shown, largely telling the story of the FIFA World Cup.   Another showed the readiness and preparation by the hospitality industry for the big event, with not one white person featured in it at all!   Johnny Clegg was the only white performer of the show.   The visuals in the video showed some wildlife, but none of the other beautiful highlights of Cape Town or the rest of the country was shown.  The sound for Angelique Kidjo’s performance was atrocious, but improved by the time the Grammy-award winning Soweto Gospel Choir performed.

Zakumi, the 2010 World Cup mascot, looked silly, and is not an asset to the event. 

The Draw itself was presented by ‘Lady in Red” Charlize Theron, whose sole role was to look pretty next to serious Jerome Valcke, Secretary-General of FIFA.  Theron, whose dress was designed by local designer Gavin Rajah, gushed about her pride in “our country”.  Valcke said “We are ready,  South Africa is ready”, to great applause.  Speaking far too quickly, Valcke tried to explain how the complicated Draw works, and how the “geographic separation” had to be created.   This was achieved by having 8 “pots”, from which the teams playing against the 8 seeded teams (Brazil, Spain, Netherlands, Italy, Germany, Argentina, England and South Africa) were randomly selected by David Beckham, South African Springbok rugby captain John Smit and cricketer Makhaya Ntini (what were they doing at a soccer event?), Bafana Bafana’s Matthew Booth, and Olympic medallist Haile Gebrselassie.

The eight groups for the 2010 World Cup are the following:

Group A:  South Africa, Mexico, Uruguay, and France

Group B:   Argentina, Korea Republic, Nigeria and Greece

Group C:  England, USA, Algeria and Slovenia

Group D: Germany, Australia, Ghana, Serbia

Group E: The Netherlands, Japan, Cameroon, and Denmark

Group F: Italy, Paraguay, Slovakia, and New Zealand

Group G: Brazil, Korea DPR, Ivory Coast and Portugal

Group H: Spain, Switzerland, Honduras and Chile

Eight matches will be played in the new Cape Town Stadium, on the following dates and times:

11 June  France versus Uruguay at 8.30 pm

14 June: Italy versus Paraguay  at 8.30 pm

18 June: England versus Algeria at 8.30 pm 

21 June: Portugal versus Korea DPR at 1.30 pm

24 June : Cameroon versus The Netherlands at 8.30 pm

29 June:  winner of first group H and second group G, at 8.30 pm

3 July : quarter-final at 4 pm

6 July:  semi-final at 8.30 pm

Capetonians who joined the Fan Fest at the top of Long Street probably had the most fun, in partying the night away to music greats such as Coda, Freshlyground and more.   It is estimated that a crowd of 50 000 enjoyed itself, and entrance to more party-goers had to be barred.    Sky News broadcast from Long Street prior to the start of the Final Draw. 

Chris von Ulmenstein, Whale Cottage Portfolio: www,whalecottage.com

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