South Africa will this weekend launch a major advertising campaign to boost next year’s Confederations Cup, which groups together continental football champions ahead of the 2010 World Cup, organisers said Friday.

“The underlying message that the OC [Organising Committee] wants to get across to all South Africans is a call to action to be part of the one of the most exciting events in African sporting history,” Derek Carstens, the committee’s head of marketing, told journalists.

The campaign for the Confederations Cup, to be staged in South Africa from June 14 to 28 next year, will be launched on Sunday with television and newspapers advertisements, he said.

The draw for the eight-team tournament will be made on November 22.

“The Confederations Cup is a test-run for us, the meat in the sandwich. There is a lot of interest in the competition,” he said.

The tournament — which features South Africa, Italy, Spain, the United States, Brazil, Iraq, New Zealand and Egypt — will be staged in the cities of Johannesburg, Pretoria, Bloemfontein and Rustenburg.

The aim of the campaign is to build awareness of the competition to maximise attendance at the matches, as tickets go on sale on Sunday, Carstens said.

The Confederations Cup has traditionally been used to test a host country’s state of preparedness for the World Cup.

South Africa will host the continent’s first World Cup from June 11 to July 11, 2010.

Tickets for the 32-team World Cup will go on sale on January 7, 2009.

“We are going to see high-quality football during the competitions.

It is a wonderful opportunity for South Africa. All the teams coming are champions,” said the organising committee’s chief executive, Danny Jordaan.

“It is an opportunity of our lifetime. I hope we will grab it with both hands,” he said.

Bafana Bafana coach Joel Santana, who was present at the media briefing, assured South Africans that he would build a team that will win the World Cup.

The performance of Santana, a Brazilian who took over the team earlier this year, has been a subject of harsh criticism by the local media.

South Africa is listed 80th this week on FIFA’s world rankings and 17th on the African rankings.

A high-level FIFA team, including its vice-president Jack Warner, will be in Johannesburg on November 22 for the draw for the Confederations Cup.

The final draw for the 2010 World Cup, to be staged in 10 stadia in nine South African cities, will be held on December 4 in Cape Town.