Conducted by Mustapha Fahmy, FIFA’s Director of Competitions, the draw was attended by FIFA President Joseph S. Blatter as well as representatives from the UAE 2010 Organising Committee and the participating clubs.
SC Internacional’s president, Vitorio Carlos Costi Piffero, Pachuca’s vice-president of sports, Andres Miguel Fassi, and Al Wahda’s executive director, Khaled Al Khazrgy all made the journey to Zurich for the draw, as did Luis Figo in his capacity as FC Internazionale’s international relations manager.
In kicking off the ceremony, the FIFA President acknowledged that there were not many teams to be pulled from the hat but added: “Still, every draw is exciting.” By this stage, details of the play-off for the quarter-finals had already been released, with UAE Premier League winners Al Wahda squaring up to O-League champions Hekari United of Papua New Guinea on December 8.
The draw itself centred on the schedule for the two quarter-finals, the first of which will pit the winners of the CAF Champions League – either Congo’s TP Mazembe or Esperance of Tunisia – against Pachuca of Mexico. Reacting to the draw, Luis Barraldi, Pachuca’s vice-president of international affairs, said that his team would be wary of the test posed by an “unfamiliar” African side. He said: “We are happy and proud to participate in this fantastic competition for a third time. We are excited to go to the United Arab Emirates and hope to do well there. We are now waiting on our opponent that will be the CAF representative. It’s difficult to play against African teams because we’re not familiar with their style.”
The second quarter-final involves another as yet unknown quantity, with the winners of the AFC Champions League – the final of which is being contested by Seongnam Ilhwa Chunma of Korea Republic and Zobahan of Iran – facing off against the winner of the Al Wahda-Hekari United clash.
The prize for the victor in this second quarter-final will be a last four duel with FC Internazionale of Italy, while Pachuca and Africa’s representatives will fight it out for a glamour tie with Internacional. After the draw, Figo, who brought down the curtain on a glittering playing career in May of last year, spoke of Inter’s desire to cap one of the greatest seasons in the club’s history. “After winning the Champions League, winning the Club World Club would round off a fantastic year,” he said. “We have the intention to win another trophy that would lift the prestige of the club. It’s a very interesting challenge for us.”
Story and photo courtesy of FIFA.
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