The semi finals of the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) may still be a few days away but organizers of Africa’s biggest football showpiece are still having problems selling some tickets for the games. This is because about 43, 000 tickets still remain unsold for both games which will take place in Durban and Nelspruit.
In Nelspruit, the stadium has a capacity of 43, 000 but as at this weekend, about half of the tickets – that’s about 24, 000 – still remain unsold. On the other hand, the stadium in Durban still has about 19, 000 available seats still left unsold. However, tickets for the finals are faring better as only 6, 000 tickets out of 94, 000 still remain unsold.
The chief executive of the Local Organising Committee Mvuso Mbebe says the amount of tickets still left unsold is of huge concern to organisers. According to him, “That concern is shared by all of us. We appeal to the South African public to support the tournament. It should be immaterial which teams are playing. We’ve got great stars here, the football has been great and we owe it to the continent to make sure the stadiums are full,” he added.
The first quarter final will take place on Saturday afternoon between Ghana’s Black Stars and the Blue Sharks of Cape Verde in Port Elizabeth but the venue has witnessed low attendances. However, Mbebe says plans are underway to address that.
Mbebe said: “We have increased our advertising [in Port Elizabeth]. We’re looking now at a system where the complimentary tickets will only be handed out once people have arrived at the bus or train stations. We’ll do that for Saturday’s match and see if that works. Beyond that really, there is little else we can do.”
Meanwhile, the Confederation of Africa Football (CAF) Secretary General Hicham El Amrani says the reasons why tickets are still left unsold may be because fans are yet to know who will qualify to the last four. According to him, “They [Nelspruit] need to work very, very hard [to fill the stadium] but we understand that some spectators don’t want to commit before they know who is going to play in those semi-finals.”
Also CAF did confirm that 433,053 tickets had been bought by the public for the tournament, while 278,596 have been given away as complimentary tickets.
The quarter finals of the 2013 AFCON will take place this weekend. Ghana will file against Cape Verde; hosts Bafana Bafana take on The Eagles of Mali; The Elephants of Cote d’Ivoire play Nigeria’s Super Eagles while the final game is between The Stallions of Bourkina Faso and The Hawks of Togo