The dream is coming true for Africa, the first World Cup is within touching distance and global footballing attention turned to South Africa on December 4.The 2010 World Cup finals draw saw the host nation South Africa being pitted against 1998 winners France, Mexico and the host and victor of the first ever World Cup back in 1930, Uruguay.
A tricky draw indeed, and one which will have the hosts praying for the “Madiba Magic” to do as it did for Bafana Bafana in the 1996 Africa Cup of Nations.
If you don’t know, the captain at the time was Neil Tovey and Clive Barker was the coach when the 2010 hosts went all the way to win the continental tournament on home soil.
There is no better time for South Africa to avenge the 3-0 humiliation they suffered at the hands of the French side back in the 1998 world showpiece. France eventually went all the way to win the crown and SAFA did what they do best by showing French coach Phillipe Troussier the exit door, blaming him for their shortcomings.
Uruguay will be keen to get the better of Bafana Bafana, who will be playing in just their third World Cup since readmission in 1990. Uruguay is a bit of a surprise package, and Bafana's training camp in South America may be the right step to helping them learn how to play the South American teams.
Mexico, who trailed USA in the CONCACAF hexagon are seasoned World Cup campaigners. El Tri have progressed beyond the group stages in each of their last five World Cup campaigns.
One word of advice for Bafana Bafana is to defend the Mexicans tightly and give them little room to play with, as all American teams love it when a team allows them too much space, and Carlos Alberto Parreira will be aware of that.
Raymond Domenech's France side complained about being handed a non-seeded berth, but they were then blessed with a draw that allowed them to miss the big guns and pick Bafana instead.
Les Bleus can at least breathe now that they've avoided some of the major names. France are the favourites to win the Group on paper but with home support and a number of vuvuzelas, who knows what the host can do in 2010.
The first game of the group and ultimately of the tournament in the newly built state of the art Soccer City Stadium will be key, as it has the potential to decide the fate of all the teams in the section. If South Africa win, their confidence will overflow the half-filled cup of self belief.
Battle For Second
The 12th man factor gives the hosts an upperhand over all of their opponents, who will be faced with some incredible support from the home fans with songs and vuvuzelas prominent in the typical African style.
Oscar Tabarez's Uruguay were the last team to qualify but in Luis Suarez and Diego Forlan they possess an arsenal of machine guns capable of beating defenders the world over.
Football is all about organization, certainly any one in Group A is capable of progressing to the next round provided they play their cards right.
Carlos Alberto Parreira and his charges be warned, the beautiful game is all about organisation and if you don’t organise you will agonise.
Clyde Tlou, Goal.com