Four familiar faces to American and New York/New Jersey soccer will help with Friday’s World Cup draw.
They are former U.S. women’s national team standout Carli Lloyd, one-time MetroStars (now Red Bulls) standouts Lothar Matthaeus and Tim Cahill and ex-U.S. men’s national team head coach Bora Milutinovic, who also directed the MetroStars.
The full line-up of assistants will also include Cafu (Brazil) Adel Ahmed MalAllah (Qatar), Ali Daei (IR Iran), Jay-Jay Okocha (Nigeria) and Rabah Madjer (Algeria).
“It will be a great honor to experience the World Cup atmosphere again, this time as a draw conductor for the men’s tournament,” Lloyd said in a statement. “As a fan, I’ve been closely following the qualifiers, and as a former player, I can’t wait to share the stage with such legends of the game.”
The draw will be staged at the Doha Exhibition and Convention Center, starting at noon ET.
“I am getting used to this, but it still gives me goosebumps,” said Cafu, who will be taking part in a final draw for the third time after playing in consecutive World Cup final matches in 1994, 1998 and 2002 (winning the trophy twice). “It is a sign that the World Cup is getting nearer. It is nearly 20 years since I became the last South American player to lift the World Cup and it is a memory I will always cherish. Playing at the World Cup, when your whole country comes to a standstill to watch the game, is incomparable.”
The other assistants also need little by way of introduction. Matthaeus captained West Germany to victory in 1990. Okocha was a playmaking midfielder who helped Nigeria qualify for its first World Cup in 1994 and won the Olympic title two years later. Cahill scored Australia’s first World Cup goal against Japan in 2006 and also represented the Socceroos in 2010, 2014 and 2018. Milutinovic is the only coach to have managed at five consecutive editions of the World Cup with Mexico (1986), Costa Rica (1990), USA (1994), Nigeria (1998) and China PR (2002).
There will also be three famous faces from the Middle East among the draw assistants for the first World Cup in the region. The host country will be represented by Adel Ahmed MalAllah. The former defender represented Qatar at the FIFA World Youth Championship in 1981, when it won the silver medal, and at the men’s Olympic football tournament in 1984.
“I’m thrilled to be a draw assistant in my home country, and proud of Qatar. A FIFA World Cup in our region is a dream come true for every Arab footballer and football fan. This generation will make history on the pitch and we cannot wait to welcome the world here in just a few months’ time,” MalAllah said.
In 1982, Madjer set Algeria on their way to one of the biggest World Cup upsets in the tournament’s history when he scored the opening goal in his side’s 2-1 win over West Germany. Daei was the leading scorer in men’s international football until his remarkable tally of 109 goals was overhauled by Portugal’s Cristiano Ronaldo in September 2021.
The eight draw assistants will be supported by a conducting team comprised of two-time FIFA Women’s World Cup champion Lloyd, football pundit and former England player Jermaine Jenas, and British-Jamaican sports presenter Samantha Johnson.