The 2010 The International Federation of Association Football World Cup is set to kick off in colorful, energetic and distinctly African musical fashion with a dynamic Opening Ceremony which will be watched live by hundreds of millions of viewers in 215 countries. The 30-minute ceremony, with its cast of 1 581 world-class artists, dancers, musicians and performers, will start at Johannesburg’s iconic Soccer City stadium on June 11, 2010, at 2:00 p.m. (7:00 a.m. Twin Cities time), just ahead of the opening match between hosts South Africa and Mexico.
Held every four years, the FIFA World Cup 2010 starts out with 32 teams broken down into 16 groups of 4 teams each. The teams will square off in division matches starting June 11, until the top 16 teams emerge to move forward to a match on June 26. The remaining 8 winners go on to the Quarter-finals on July 2-3, with the final 4 in the Semi-finals on July 6-7. The 3rd Place match will be played on July 10. The FIFA Championship Final will be played on July 11.
United States plays in Group C and its first match is against England on June 12. The US plays Slovenia on June 18, and Algeria on June 23.
The USA squad is coached by Bob Bradley and the players include Goalkeepers Tim Howard, Brad Guzan, and Marcus Hahnemann; Forwards Michael Bradley, DaMarcus Beasley, Clint Dempsey, Hercules Gomez, Landon Donovan, Stuart Holden, Bolton Wanderers, Ricardo Clark, Edson Buddle, Francisco Torres, Jozy Altidore, Maurice Edu, and Robbie Findley; and Defensemen Oguchi Onyewu, Steve Cherundolo, Jonathan Spector, Carlos Bocanegra, Borussia Moenchengladbach, Jonathan Bornstein, Jay DeMerit, Clarence Goodson, and Benny Feilhaber.
The Opening Ceremony will feature Multiple Grammy Award winner, R Kelly, who will sing the ceremony’s showpiece song, ‘Sign of a Victory’ with South Africa’s Soweto Spiritual Singers. Kelly said participating in the Opening Ceremony of the 2010 FIFA World Cup “is the biggest thing I’ve ever been involved with”.
“I’ve heard so many great stories about Africa,” said Kelly. “To be here in this way, performing at the World Cup, there’s just no words for this. Musically, this is my World Cup. Any time you get the chance to be part of something this big and historical, it’s definitely very special.”
The rest of the world-class line-up for the Opening Ceremony features celebrated South African trumpeter Hugh Masekela, charismatic Nigerian star Femi Kuti, who will perform the famous ‘Bang, Bang, Bang’ track, Algerian Afro-pop artist Khaled, legendary Ghanaian band Osibisa, as well as top-class South African artists Thandiswa Mazwai, Hip Hop Pantsula (HHP), TKZee and vocalist Timothy Moloi.
The Opening Ceremony will also feature well-known South African praise singer and poet, Zolani Mkhiva, as well as the music of Letta Mbulu and Chicco. The Field Band Foundation, an innovative and exciting organization with a track for youth development through music and dance among disadvantaged communities, will also participate in the ceremony.
The theme of the ceremony is “Welcoming the World Home” and is produced for the 2010 FIFA World Cup Organizing Committee South Africa (OC) by the VWV TILL DAWN Consortium, comprising the VWV Group and Till Dawn Entertainment. The consortium, which successfully staged the opening and closing ceremonies of the FIFA Confederations Cup 2009, will also produce the tournament’s closing ceremony for the OC on July 11.
“I believe the Opening Ceremony is going to be a super showpiece of the very best of African arts, culture, song and dance. There will be a full representation of South African artists and artists from Africa, especially from the participating six-pack nations representing Africa at the tournament,” said South Africa’s Minister of Arts and Culture, Lulu Xingwana, whose department played a major role in securing the artists for the Opening Ceremony and sourcing particularly the artists from the African continent.
“The Opening Ceremony features a great line-up of South African and African giants of the music and entertainment industry and will showcase to a worldwide audience of millions the talent, creativity, technology and welcoming spirit and hospitality of the African continent. It will undoubtedly be a real African celebration of joy, life and energy,” said Dr Danny Jordaan, the OC’s Chief Executive Officer.