SAnews.gov.za (Tshwane)

South Africa: Rustenburg Promises a Memorable Afcon

Phokeng — The Rustenburg Municipality has promised an unforgettable 2013 Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) and wants to be voted as the best host city as it did for the 2010 FIFA World Cup.

Rustenburg will not only host matches during the tournament but will also be the base camp for Group D, which is considered as the group of death and it includes Ivory Coast, Togo, Tunisia and Algeria.

"We want to assure all Africans that as a host city, we are ready for the tournament. We want to encourage all South Africans, and other Africans in particular, to flock to Rustenburg in their numbers during the 2013 Afcon showpiece.

"We want to promise the nation and continent a memorable tournament as we want to be voted the best host city just as it happened during the 2010 FIFA World Cup," said acting Mayor Michael Mhlungu.

Mhlungu was addressing reporters during the Afcon Local Organising Committee (LOC) visit to the North West province on Wednesday to assess the state of readiness of Rustenburg Municipality to host the tournament.

The LOC embarked on a walk-about to inspect the 42 000-seater Royal Bafokeng Stadium in Phokeng, the training venues, hotels and other locations supporting the tournament.

Afcon LOC boss, Mvuzo Mbebe, expressed satisfaction with the host city's preparations for the tournament.

However, his team had raised one or two concerns about the Mogwase and Olympia Park Stadium training venues with the municipality, but said he had received an assurance that the concerns would be sorted out.

"There are one or two areas where we raised our concerns, especially about the Mogwase training venue and Olympia Park, but I am happy to tell you that once we raised those issues, the city responded immediately. Very soon, there would be a new service provider who is going to help us to maintain those venues to the standard that we require.

"We don't have any major concern about the state of readiness of the city of Rustenburg," he said.

Mhlungu said they had assured the LOC that they would be ready. "We promised to fix those challenges before the end of this year.

The city's State of Readiness Report which was presented to the LOC covered logistics, security, transport plans, marketing and sponsorship, protocol.

Asked about the two additional change rooms the city was expected to build at Royal Bafokeng Stadium, Mbebe said: "We've set a target for ourselves to ensure that everything has to be done and finished as soon as possible.We are happy that a programme is now in place and by December 7 this programme would be finalised."

He said it had been a "major area of concern" to the LOC, but now they were comfortable from what they had seen during hteir visit and with the rest of the plans. "There is nothing that we are going to be worried about."

He praised the host city for allocating enough personnel and resources to the tournament to make sure that all the LOC requirements are met.

"Come January when the first group stage match kick-off here in Rustenburg, everything will be on track," he said.

With regard to the road construction between Rustenburg and Tlhabane, Mbebe said this was not a concern. "We are also not worried about the road construction as there is a plan in place by the city to ensure that there is a smooth flow of traffic to the stadium during the tournament."

He said he was also happy that as far as accommodation was concerned everything was on track.

Mbebe requested the city to focus on marketing the tournament and urged the people of the North West to buy match tickets to ensure that the stadium was full to the capacity during the tournament.

He said people would start to see marketing increasing before the end of this month.

"The city beatification is going to start very soon, I'm sure by the first week of December and there would more visibility in terms of branding for the tournament in all the host cities."

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