Durban - Only a quarter of the tickets for Africa Cup of Nations matches to be played at the Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban have been sold, the Local Organising Committee (LOC) revealed on Wednesday.
The city will host six games when South Africa hosts the tournament, which starts over the weekend, including a quarter-final and semi-final at the 54 000-seater venue.
However, none of the games are said to be sold out, including Bafana Bafana’s final two group matches, the first of which is against Angola next Wednesday, followed by a meeting with Morocco on February 27.
“We haven’t yet reached them (all the targets we set),” LOC chairperson Chief Mwelo Nonkonyana said.
“In fact, Moses Mabhida is about 25 percent (sold at this stage).
“So we know we need to redouble our efforts in that (ticket sales) regard.
“And there’s many other cities where we’re really not happy.”
The latest sales figures have nonetheless revealed that four-fifths of their targeted 500 000 tickets have been sold, although a large number of those are thought to come from the opening game between the home nation and Cape Verde Islands on Saturday and the February 10 final.
Both of those will be staged at the 90 000-capacity National Stadium, better known as Soccer City.
“Of course in terms of the overall sale of tickets, we are past the 400 000 mark as we speak,” Nonkonyana explained.
“Our target was at least 500 000 and there’s still time to get there and we’re hoping that we can really hit that target by the end of this weekend.”
The LOC boss faulted the complicated sales system and a lack of marketing as some of the reasons behind the slow movement of tickets, but was happy that things were fast changing as kick-off to the continental spectacle quickly approached.
“One was a question of accessibility, secondly it was the question of vouchers, meaning people had to travel not once, but twice to get that one ticket,” he said.
“We had to address those things so that when you do go to buy a ticket, you do get a ticket. We’ve had to make it easier.
“Marketing also has been slow, but we’ve slowly resolved that as the tournament has drawn closer. The efforts have been doubled up.” Nonkonyana, who was speaking in Durban, also insisted that the organisers were now ready and urged support for national coach Gordon Igesund and his under-pressure team.
“We’re 100 percent ready, we’re very excited and we’re calling on our people to now support us,” he added.
“We want to give Bafana Bafana the support they need and propel them from here, the Moses Mabhida Stadium in eThekwini, to progress from the group stages into the quarter-final and beyond.
“We need to give them that support they need to get that second Afcon crown. We can do it again, but we need that 12th player, which is the fans, to carry them through.”