Organising committee blunder

2012-11-03 17:36

Delegates from top African countries were stranded at King Shaka Airport and could not carry out inspections of facilities after last week’s final Afcon draw.

Ablunder of monumental proportions by the 2013 African Cup of Nations (Afcon) local organising committee (LOC) saw delegates from top African countries stranded at King Shaka International Airport for up to six hours following last week’s final draw.

The LOC has also been accused of dropping some team liaison officers at the last minute and replacing them with former players.

This came after some former players complained of being left out.

According to information received by City Press, the delegates left their hotels at about 4am to catch flights at 6am that were to take them to the venues where their countries will be based. Once there, they were to conduct match venue, training field and accommodation inspections.

They were also supposed to introduce themselves and establish contact with host-city authorities.

But it was not to be as they were left high and dry at the airport.

They eventually left the country without doing inspections.

Ivory Coast, which will be based in Rustenburg, will come back to the country later this month to inspect the facilities after they left without being able to do so.

Kalusha Bwalya, the president of the Football Association of Zambia, said he was aware there was a hiccup at the airport but could not elaborate further.

“The information I gathered from our secretary general is that the episode inconvenienced the team.

But we will try to do the inspection when we are there for the game against Bafana,” said Bwalya.

He said his team manager was supposed to have done the inspection in Mpumalanga, where they will be based.

A man who was supposed to fly to Durban for the draw to work as a liaison officer said he was dumped at the last minute.

“We had gone through the whole process and already had the itinerary and flight bookings when we were told not to bother,” he said.

The LOC’s chief communications officer, Sipho Sithole, said some delegates missed their flights.

He said he was not aware of the allegations that they were stranded at the airport because their flight tickets had not been paid for.

“All I know is that some delegates missed their flights and some schedules clashed so they could not do the inspection. But we are busy making plans for them to do the inspection,” he said.

He said some teams had already conducted the inspection and were happy with the facilities.

On the issue of liaison officers, Sithole said they had been forced to swap some people around.

“I know Algeria wanted a specific person who had worked with them during the World Cup so we had to swap them around. I don’t know about anyone who was left behind,” he said.

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