SA quells AFCON pitch worries
Mvuzo Mbebe (Gallo Images)
Johannesburg - The Local Organising Committee (LOC) for next year's Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) said on Thursday it was confident of delivering a trouble-free tournament.
This, even though the pitch at FNB Stadium was in a bad way following the concert before the recent encounter between Kaizer Chiefs and Moroka Swallows, and might not be playable for the final match.
South Africa will host AFCON from January 19 to February 10.
Concerns have arisen about another concert, that of the Red Hot Chili Peppers, which will be held at the stadium in the middle of the tournament.
"The LOC will be writing a letter to CAF on behalf of stadium management requesting that they accommodate the concert, which was booked to take place in February next year," LOC CEO Mvuzo Mbebe said on Thursday.
"Unfortunately, we came to them (stadium management) late and the concert was already booked and there were contracts in place and we just can't change them," he said.
Even so, Mbebe said on Thursday that the stadium would not be affected.
In an effort to minimise damage to the pitch, the organisers would plant Desso GrassMaster, a hybrid of natural grass and artificial fibres, at the stadium.
"The pitch is not going to be in a bad condition before the final because we are going to put Desso GrassMaster, and so the pitch will not be affected."
The FNB Stadium will host the opening match and ceremony on January 19 and the final match and closing ceremony on February 10.
Johannesburg was the LOC's last stop on its tour of host cities. It has already been to Port Elizabeth, Rustenburg, and Durban, to check their readiness for the tournament.
"Overall, we are quite pleased with plans as presented to us by the city of Johannesburg,” said Mbebe.
"They shared their plans for the public transportation for the fans as well as the marketing strategy and we are really comfortable with the organisation thus far."