Sports‎ > ‎

South Africa warms up for 2013 AFCON games

posted 10 Jan 2013, 05:27 by Mpelembe Admin   [ updated 10 Jan 2013, 05:27 ]

Hundreds of South Africa fans gather in the econimc capital, Johannesburg to begin a ten day countdown to the 2013 African Cup of Nations (AFCON), which kicks off on January 19th.

JOHANNESBURGSOUTH AFRICA (JANUARY 09, 2013) (REUTERS) -  Dance troupes and hundreds of football lovers turned up in Johannesburg to mark the start of a ten day countdown to the African cup of Nations (AFCON) kick off on January 19th.

The tournament which ends on February 10th will see 16 countries take part in the most prestigious competition in African football.

The biennial tournament will be holding its 29th edition this year.

Many football lovers in South Africa also came to see their national team, Bafana Bafanawho were being presented to the country's minister of sports and recreation, Fikile Mbalula.

Mbalula told the crowd that they must show support for their country, and encourage the team to do well as they prepare for the tournament.

"Go and do us proud, we release to go and compete with the best in the world," said Mbalula.

Musicians kept the crowd in high spirits while dancers including the official AFCON mascot displayed their latest dance moves at the event held near the Nelson MandelaLibrary in Sandton.

The AFCON opening match will be played between South Africa's Bafana Bafana andCape Verde in Johannesburg.

In a warm up match with Norway on Tuesday (January 08) Bafana Bafana lost 1-0 but many fans say this will not stop them from cheering their team on in the hope that they can win the cup this time.

"We are dedicating that cup to Tata Madiba (Nelson Mandela) we owe him big time remember," said Glades Gaily a Johannesburg resident who attended the event.

Tickets on sale range from 5 to 23 US dollars.

The local organizing committee says other African countries are buying tickets in bulk.

Ethiopia has already secured 30,000 tickets and defending champions Zambia has 15,000 tickets for their fans. South African is still expected to make up the bulk of spectators.

About 86,000 football fans are expected to be visit the Johannesburg National Stadium for the opening and closing ceremonies.

Authorities say security has been beefed up to ensure law and order in maintained during the event.

Emergency units will also be on standby to guarantee safety of thousands of fans expected to descend on the city.