Sports Minister Fikile Mbalula says government is ready to host the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon). “South Africa has made a commitment to host the Afcon in 2013 and that’s how it will be,” he said after Cabinet announced the host cities of the 2013 Afcon and those of the 2014 African Nations Championships (CHAN).
According to South African Football Association (Safa) President Kirsten Nematandani, they will pull out all stops to ensure South Africa’s successful hosting of the 2013 African Cup of Nations.
“Nothing can stop the 2013 Afcon from succeeding. We have no more time to relax. We have to hit the ground running to ensure that our national team is ready for the tournament,” he said, while signing the handover agreement along with Safa Interim Chair Mwelo Nonkonyana.
The opening and closing ceremonies of the 2013 Afcon will be played at Johannesburg’s FNB Stadium, while matches will take place in Port Elizabeth (Nelson Mandela Bay), Rustenburg (Royal Bafokeng), eThekwini (Moses Mabhida Stadium) and Mbombela (Mbombela Stadium).
Nematandani told Nonkonyana that with the support of government, there would be no reason for the tournament hosting to fail. The tournament is scheduled to begin on 19 January and end on 10 February. In response, Nonkonyana pledged to do his best as interim chair until a permanent Afcon LOC board is established. “We dare not fail South Africa and the entire African continent. We cannot host the 2013 Afcon Tournament at a lower standard than that of the 2010 FIFA World Cup.
“I don’t have enough words to thank our government for the support, but one thing is certain: we are not going to fail them. We will work very hard to ensure that the tournament is
a success,” he said, thanking Nematandani for laying a solid foundation for him. Nonkonyana said during his tenure, the 2013 Afcon board will operate in line with what the Constitution of the country dictates.
hh head, said all 16 teams, which will participate in the tournament, are expected to be in the country on 13 January, while Bafana Bafana will play a team yet to be announced during the opening match on 19 January at FNB Stadium in Johannesburg.
Time is of the essence
According to Mbebe, there will be 24 group stages, six matches in each group, eight knock- out matches, 17 match days, 24 match sites, with two group stage matches per day in the same venue in the same host city.
“All group matches for a single team will be played in the same city, unlike in the FIFA World Cup where a team plays group matches in three different venues,” he said. Visits to the host cities for verification and engagement on any outstanding issues were carried out in May with the Inter-Ministerial Committee appointed by Cabinet.
He said the launch of the countdown and marketing campaign for the tournament has already begun, while the inspection visit by the Confederation of African Football will be con- ducted in July. The opening window for media accreditation for the South African media only will also begin in July, along with the unveiling of the tournament mascot. He said the theme song of the tournament will be launched in August. Media accreditation for international media will open in September. Mbebe said the final draw of the 2013 Afcon will take place in October.
For more information, call the Sport and Recreation SA: 012 304 5000