Pele to appear at World Cup draw; role kept secret

Pele is to appear at Friday’s draw for the 2014 World Cup, but

his role is being kept secret.

It hadn’t been clear whether Pele would be participating. On

Monday, however, organizers confirmed the soccer great will be part

of the broadcast to about 250 million viewers in more than 190

countries.

”He will be the `wow’ moment of the show,” said Luiz Gleiser,

the event’s artistic manager.

Head of FIFA Films David Ausseil said Pele will ”come to the

stage” at some point. Beyond that it’s not certain what he will

do.

”We will keep that as the surprise,” Ausseil said.

Pele is a World Cup ambassador for the Brazilian government, but

he was not involved in the Confederations Cup draw a year ago and

surprisingly didn’t appear at the opening match of the World Cup

warmup tournament. He has made only a few appearances promoting the

World Cup, the first in Brazil since 1950.

Pele will not be drawing the balls that determine the group

placings, a task handed to past world champions Cafu of Brazil,

Zinedine Zidane of France, Lothar Matthaeus of Germany, Fernando

Hierro of Spain, Fabio Cannavaro of Italy, Alcides Ghiggia or

Uruguay, Geoff Hurst of England and Mario Kempes of Argentina.

They will be assisting FIFA Secretary Jerome Valcke, who will be

conducting the draw that reveals the first-round matchups of the

World Cup, including where and when each of the 32 teams will be

playing in the June 12-July 13 tournament.

Nearly 1,500 guests are expected to attend, along with about

2,000 journalists. Representatives of nearly all 32 nations will be

in the resort city of Costa do Sauipe.

Brazilian artists such as Alcione, Margareth Menezes, Alexandre

Pires, Vanessa da Mata and the percussion group Olodum will be part

of the show.

Local actors Fernanda Lima and Rodrigo Hilbert will be

presenting the event, which FIFA says will focus on ”five traits

that make Brazil what it is: a cohesive society, the power of

innovation, lush green nature, vibrant football and a land of

happiness.”

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