Organisers of the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations have admitted that the exit of hosts South Africa and pre-tournament favourites Ivory Coast will take off some steam from the showpiece.
South Africa’s Bafana Bafana and the Elephants of Ivory Coast were booted out of the tournament in the quarter-finals by Mali and Nigeria, respectively.
Chief executive officer of the local organising committee Mvuso Mbebe told a press briefing on Monday the two teams’ exit would have a negative effect on the tournament.
“It is a big concern to us all because over 40 000 tickets for the semi-finals remained unsold at the weekend.
“And with South Africa and Ivory Coast having been booted out, there are fears that the turnout will not be impressive.
“The other factor is that the tournament is being staged in southern Africa and none of the teams from the region has qualified into semis.
“We need to work hard to fill the stadiums,” said Mbebe.
A taxi driver based at OR Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg, Sipho Ngwenya, also said South Africa and Ivory Coast’s exit would affect the tournament’s hype.
“Most people have lost interest due to the fact that Bafana and Zambia are out and the exit of Ivory Coast, who have world-class players such as Didier Drogba, Yaya and Kolo Toure and Gervinho, has worsened the situation. The enthusiasm is not the same,” he said.
Prior to the competition, local organisers said the priority for the 2013 competition would be “full stadiums, full stadiums, full stadiums.”
CAF at the weekend confirmed that 433 053 tickets had been sold with 278 596 given out in compliments.
In the semi-finals on Wednesday, Nigeria face Mali while Ghana, who booted out the Flames in the final qualifying round, take on Burkina Faso. —Story powered by OG Plastic Industries and Standard Bank