Vuvuzelas back for AFCON

2012-10-31 14:18
AFCON logo (File)
Johannesburg - South Africa's 2013 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) Local Organising Committee (LOC) announced on Wednesday that vuvuzelas will be allowed at the tournament.

LOC chief executive Mvuzo Mbebe said the organisers had no reason to doubt the musical instruments and their place within the South African soccer experience.

"Vuvuzelas are part of our culture and our soccer nation," Mbebe said.

"Teams come in different forms. Until somebody proves otherwise, vuvuzelas will be allowed into the stadium."

"They are instruments of enjoyment and up until there is an issue, they will be part of this tournament," Mbebe said.

"At this point in time, vuvuzelas are fine. Our control systems will ensure that violence does not happen.

"We are confident that the vuvuzelas will add to the spirit of the tournament."

Last month, angry Mamelodi Sundowns fans threw vuvuzelas at coach Johan Neeskens as police escorted him from the field.

Concerns about the drone produced by vuvuzelas during the 2010 World Cup in South Africa were raised by representatives of international football teams, spectators and sports commentators following the tournament, but Mbebe said he had no concerns.

The noise levels produced by vuvuzelas during the 2010 World Cup prompted various sporting organisations to ban them at certain events, including the 2011 Rugby World Cup in New Zealand.

The Melbourne Cricket Ground in Australia, and the Wimbledon tennis complex in England have also banned the instrument at their facilities.

Mbebe was speaking at a media debate with the LOC on various issues regarding the hosting of the tournament, including the presence of the controversial vuvuzela, the price of tickets and their distribution.

He said the LOC was aiming to sell hundreds of thousands of tickets by the end of December.

"Between now and the end of December we are aiming for the 400 000 mark."

The LOC wanted the tickets to be accessible and affordable to the public both in South African and Africa in general, but advised the South African public to buy theirs as soon as possible.

"It is going to be critical for the SA public not to think that they can wait until the last minute to buy tickets," said Mbebe.

"We spoke to a company and they told us Ethiopia have requested 15 000 tickets per match they play.

Mbebe also wanted to clear the air about the government's support of the tournament amid fears that it would be inadequate.

"I know that we have had this issue and there has been plenty of speculation. We have met with government and in May we had an in-depth discussion," he said.

"The first time we have the monetary support from government is when the minister of finance announces his mid-term budget adjustment. It does not mean that government does not support us."

Mbebe said that when more funds did become available, the LOC would become more visible in the country to make the public aware of the tournament.

"We started with our preparations since March this year. To put a tournament of this nature [together] in nine months was never going to be easy. You need three to four years," he said.

"I don't think the money aspect should be a concern. We are going to start seeing now in November more visibility in terms of marketing... from the LOC."

Read more on:    afcon  |  mvuzo mbebe  |  soccer

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