23 September 2013

Uganda/South Africa: CHAN - Cranes to Camp in Cape Town

Photo: Ryan Wilkisky/BackpagePix
South Africa soccer players.

MICHO Sredojevic will soon travel to South Africa on a fact-finding mission ahead of Cranes' Africa Nations Championships (CHAN) campaign next year.

Apart from identifying a training base for his side within Cape Town where Uganda will be based during the major championship, the Serbian will also gather valuable information on other specifics such as weather among others.

Earlier last month, Micho revealed that his side would camp in South Africa, two weeks before the championship kicks off on January 11, 2014.

"I want to prepare the CHAN team in the best possible way. If we can assemble the Cranes every Sunday for sessions and organise a camp in South Africa before the tournament, we will do well," Micho hinted.

"I have contact with a club in South Africa that is willing to offer us an opportunity to use its facilities for two weeks. If all goes to plan, that's where we will be based in the build-up the tournament," he added without mentioning the club.

Of course, the least concern on the Serbian's mind will be the quality of facilities that await the Ugandan team in Cape Town.

Cranes' group matches will be played at the Athlone Stadium which is situated in Athlone on the outskirts of Cape Town.

Athlone upgraded

The 34,000-capacity Stadium, which was built in 1972, is used mostly for football matches and is the home ground of relegated ABSA Premiership club Santos.

The stadium was upgraded in the lead up to the 2010 FIFA World Cup with the intention of using it as a training venue.

Upgrades were done on its new West, North and South grandstands, additional parking areas, VIP suites, better player facilities (including four change rooms) and floodlights.

One of the most significant upgrades was a new pitch, with the quality similar to that of the Cape Town Stadium that hosted several World Cup games in 2010.

The Cranes are likely to be hosted at the Newlands Southern Sun Hotel, which is just 13km away from the Athlone Stadium and 20km from Cape Town International Airport.

Just like the players, Cranes fans planning to accompany the team to South Africa will discover that Cape Town is a city that beams with creativity, colour, sounds and tastes.

The so-called 'Mother City' is South Africa's most visited by tourists and is regarded by many as the most beautiful. It is a vibrant, multicultural city on the Atlantic Ocean, one of three coastal venues.

It is backed by Table Mountain - a place Cranes fans will find worth visiting along with the notorious Robben Island prison, where Nelson Mandela spent more than 18 years in custody.

For those that relish spirits, the country's best-known wine growing region and the popular coastal 'Garden Route' are nearby.

Good food

How about the food? Cape Town offers adventurous eaters tasty foods from across the African continent. There is samp (crushed maize used in porridge), marog (African spinach), spongy injeras (flatbreads) from Ethiopia, or Cape Malay cuisine.

Mama Africa is one of the several Pan-African treats, boasting a live (and loud) Congolese band and as much meat from feathered, scaled and furry beasts as you can eat, all served with a side of pap.

Things you must know before visiting Cape Town

Internet access is not great. The most sensible thing to do if you're visiting for a month or more is to invest in a mobile 3G USB modem and then buy data bundles on a pay-as-you-go basis.

Furnished rental accommodation is plentiful in Cape Town. Self-catering, furnished accommodation is quite easy to find online. Prices are reasonable and some do come with internet access.

The best time to go is between mid-January to April. Mid-January is pretty much when silly season ends and you can begin to negotiate and find great deals on accommodation and trips.

They have funny electrical sockets. Your worldwide travel adapter may not suffice when you visit.

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