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.
South Africa will likely need a little bit of luck in Friday’s World Cup draw to have a chance of advancing from the group stage at next year’s tournament — the first to be played on African soil.
The hosts are one of the eight seeded teams but could still be faced with a group possibly including 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.
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 FIFA’s rankings.
“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 un-seeded 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 be in the final? Can we be a surprise package?”
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 Mountains — is being set up as a truly African celebration. Nobel Peace laureates Archbishop Desmond Tutu and Frederik W. de Klerk will be among a star-studded cast attending, and Nelson Mandela will address the crowd of 3,000 through a video message.