1 February 2013

South Africa: Afcon Loc Worried About Poor Match Attendance in PE

Johannesburg — The Local Organising Committee (LOC) of the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) says it is concerned about the poor match attendance of games being played at the Nelson Mandela Bay stadium in Port Elizabeth.

"We know there are challenges, but we are happy with the manner, in which the tournament has progressed so far, we got thumbs up from CAF (the Confederation of African Football) as well as from the South African public.

"Obviously we are worried about the turn-out at Nelson Mandela Bay and that's one area as the LOC we need to work on it," said LOC Chief Executive Officer, Mvuzo Mbebe on Friday.

Mbebe said the people of Port Elizabeth must turn up in their numbers at the stadium to watch the quarter final match between tournament debutants, Cape Verde and the Black Stars of Ghana.

There have been complaints about the poor state of the pitch at the Mbombela stadium in Nelspruit. The problem of the pitch arose after sand was laid down as a measure to counter the heavy rains that hit the area before the tournament.

The stadium will host a quarter final match between Togo and Burkina Faso on Sunday before hosting a semi final match on February 6.

"We've removed the sand from the pitch as it will slow down the growth of the grass. We've put additional chemicals and some fertilisers to speed up the growth of the grass. We are hopeful that there would be an improvement at the stadium before the remaining games," Mbebe said.

However, CAF secretary-general, Hicham El Amrani, said although there were new measures in place, the stadium would not return to its normal condition before the remaining two games to be played at the stadium.

The remaining eight nations in the Afcon are South Africa, Mali, Cape Verde, Ghana, Togo, Burkina Faso, Nigeria and Ivory Coast.

Tomorrow, South Africa will face Mali in a quarter final match which promises to be a thriller at the Moses Mabhida stadium, while Cape Verde will play Ghana at the Nelson Mandela Bay stadium.

On Sunday, Togo will lock horns against Burkina Faso, while Nigeria will face their toughest opponents, Ivory Coast at Royal Bafokeng stadim.

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