SAnews.gov.za (Tshwane)

South Africa: LOC, CAF Confident SA Ready for Afcon Kick Off

Johannesburg — The Africa Cup of Nations Local Organising Committee (LOC) and Confederation of African Football (CAF) have on Friday expressed satisfaction at the preparations for the tournament which will kick off in Johannesburg tomorrow.

Among other things, they expressed confidence in the security plans put in place.

Yesterday, the South African Police Service (SAPS) jointly with the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) assured soccer fans that they will be protected from the moment they arrive at the country's ports of entry.

The National Joint Operational and Intelligence Structure, which will be operating in all host cities, has been established and started operating earlier this month.

Addressing the media in Johannesburg this afternoon, LOC Chief Executive Officer Mvuzo Mbebe said they would do everything in their power to make the Afcon tournament a memorable one.

He said more than 4 000 security personnel will be deployed at the stadiums for the duration of the Afcon tournament and there will also be more 9 800 support staff and 2 000 volunteers.

"We believe this tournament will be something for Africa to celebrate," Mbebe said.

More than 700 local and international journalists have been accredited for the tournament.

Mbebe called on South Africans to support the national team which will be playing against Cape Verde tomorrow in the tournament's opening match at the National Stadium.

CAF General Secretary Hicham EL Amrani also expressed satisfaction at the state of readiness to host the tournament.

He said while tickets for the opening match are sold out, soccer fans can still go and buy tickets for other matches. "We wish to push harder to ensure that stadiums are packed," he said.

With regard to transport to and from the stadiums, the LOC and CAF announced that soccer fans with tickets for the tournament can use them to board buses and trains going to the stadiums without being charged.

Soccer fans are encouraged to use public transport dedicated to transport people to the stadiums.

The Afcon will also be used to raised awareness on the danger of Malaria and HIV and Aids.

The United Against Malaria (UAM) organisation and CAF want to ensure that when fans discuss the 2013 Afcon they not only remember the exciting matches but the importance of preventing malaria and HIV and Aids.

Prominent soccer stars from all African teams will be spreading messages on the prevention of malaria and HIV and Aids.

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