Sport

SA government: Be nice to Afcon visitors

Sapa

The government has urged South Africans to be nice to visitors during the Africa Cup of Nations soccer tournament.

The South African government urged the nation to rally behind Bafana Bafana.(M&G)

"South Africans are urged to demonstrate hospitality towards visitors and show them the spirit of ubuntu through sports which is the melting pot that unites all Africans," acting spokesperson Phumla Williams said in a statement.

The government urged the nation to rally behind Bafana Bafana.

"We wish them well in their endeavour to win and keep the trophy in the country."

There will be match-viewing centres with big screens in all nine provinces.

"South Africans are also urged to wear their favourite sports shirts on football Fridays from now until the end of the tournament in support of Bafana Bafana."

South Africa play Cape Verde in the opening match on January 19 at FNB Stadium in Johannesburg.

340 000 tickets sold
More than 340 000 tickets have been sold for the 29th Africa Cup of Nations tournament, the local organising committee (LOC) said on Thursday.

LOC CEO Mvuzo Mbebe told reporters that 55 000 of the projected 90 000 tickets had already been sold for the opening game next Saturday.

"It is the Bafana games which have easily attracted the most ticket sales, with the support for the host team further emphasised by the near-capacity crowd which watched the 1-0 warm-up defeat against Norway at the Cape Town Stadium earlier in the week," he said.

Mbebe said everything possible had been done to ensure the tournament was successful.

This, despite difficulties, which included the delayed agreement to stage the opening and closing games at FNB Stadium, and South Africa taking over as the host from Libya at the last moment.

"The major challenge has been the shortage of a cash flow, which has hampered operations and impacted on marketing and mobilisation of the public to buy tickets.

"However, I am happy to say considerable progress has been made in the opening days of 2013 and I believe the momentum will continue to increase dramatically before the opening game," Mbebe added.

Match-fixing concerns
Mbebe said more than 700 local and international media members had been accredited.

LOC chairperson Mwelo Nonkonyane believed concerns about match-fixing and Safa's alleged role in this, will not adversely affect the tournament.

"An agreement has been reached in dealing with these matters."

It was Nonkonyane who had earlier announced the suspension of five top Safa officials, including president Kirsten Nematandani and acting CEO Dennis Mumble, who had been mentioned in a Fifa report on match-fixing.

Since then the five had been reinstated by Safa's national executive committee. – Sapa

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