Big bucks for Afcon 2013

2012-11-22 00:00

DURBAN is promising a grand show when the Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) kicks off in January.

As emergency hosts, who replaced Libya following the civil war there last year, South Africa has had to draw on all its experience from the global football showcase it put on two years ago.

Durban has been no different, working against the clock, but head of the office of the host city Vusi Mazibuko has still promised a top class show.

“In terms of the magnitude of resources, we don’t have the budget we had in 2010,” he said at an editors’ breakfast with eThekwini mayor James Nxumalo yesterday.

“That doesn’t mean we are going to be running a cheap Afcon … we need to deliver with the means available.”

The municipality has put up R20 million, another R15 million is coming from the province, and R17 million from national government.

A further R11 million from national coffers was spent on hosting the draw last month.

Mazibuko said home team Bafana Bafana were basing themselves in the city after his committee stated its case to organisers.

However, the opening game between the host nation and Cape Verde Islands will be played in Johannesburg on January 19.

Bafana Bafana will be training in Umlazi at King Zwelithini Stadium and Mazibuko said plans were afoot to have “interactive days” for fans to meet the four teams staying in Durban.

The other three are Cape Verde Islands, Angola and Morocco.

On the ticket front, Mazibuko said they were looking at a range of options to make purchases easy for fans.

Apart from ticket outlets at Spar supermarkets, organisers would use various online avenues, mobile travelling units and possibly Moses Mabhida Stadium itself.

A big promise was made by local organisers to guarantee 50 000 fans at every game — even if Bafana Bafana crash out, said Mazibuko.

To do that an “aggressive” marketing campaign will begin this week and target the thousands of visitors coming to the coast for the festive season.

For the players, there’s a special touch as well, with the stadium now sporting the country’s first football surface where grass and artificial material have been blended, making it firmer and more resilient.

Mazibuko said this was intentional because the pitch would be seeing a lot of football.

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