Leadership (Abuja)

Nigeria: Afcon - South African Govt Harps On Fans Support

Teams which will be participating in the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations are arriving South Africa and the government is extending a warm welcome to players and urging South Africans to demonstrate hospitality towards the visitors.

"South Africans are urged to ... show them the spirit of Ubuntu through sports, which is the melting pot that unites all Africans," said Phumla Williams, the acting CEO of Government Communications (GCIS).

The Afcon opening match will take place on 19 January 2013 at National Stadium in Johannesburg between South Africa and Cape Verde.

"We urge the nation to rally behind Bafana Bafana as they prepare for their battle against the best in the continent. We wish them well in their endeavour to win and keep the trophy in the country. Government supports Bafana Bafana in their quest to excel in the competition," said Williams.

She said South Africa had a proud track record of hosting major successful international sporting events, and had proved to be a safe and friendly country.

Communities will have access to the fanfare leading up to the games through a mass mobilisation programme around the country.

The public in all nine provinces will be able to view matches from 44 big screens erected within their communities. The public is encouraged to visit the match viewing centres to watch the games and support various competing teams.

"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," Williams said.

Meanwhile, the Local Organising Committee (LOC), which has been working tirelessly preparing for the tournament, has assured the continent that South Africa is ready to host the tournament.

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