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Cape town - BAFANA Bafana will take to the Cape Town Stadium tonight for the first time in two years, in front of an expected 30 000-strong crowd, after ticket sales picked up yesterday after a sluggish start.
Yesterday, the SA Football Association (Safa) also unveiled their secret weapon, in the form of Minister of Sport Fikile Mbalula, to “inspire” the 23-man squad.
Since sales opened on December 21, the city had managed to sell only about 12 000 tickets before yesterday for the national team’s friendly international against Norway.
The match is one of two warm-up games Bafana Bafana will play before their African Cup of Nations opener against the Cape Verde Islands on January 19.
Bafana, who last played in Cape Town in 2010 in a 1-0 defeat to the US, will play Algeria in a friendly game on Saturday at the Orlando Stadium.
The city’s director for tourism, events and marketing, Anton Groenewald, said between the city, Computicket, Shoprite and Checkers outlets, they were processing about 700 tickets an hour yesterday.
Roughly 19 000 of the 45 000 available tickets had been sold, he said, adding: “We are expecting a crowd of about 32 000 supporters.”
“What we are experiencing here is a typical soccer fan behaviour of purchasing tickets at the last minute. That is something we are hoping to improve on in the next 12 months, to encourage people to purchase tickets on time.”
The game kicks off at 8pm and there is an appeal for Capetonians to grab the remaining tickets.
“We have made an appeal to the public and I’m sure that they will attend the matches.
“We live in Africa, and we know if a game is at five, people get their tickets at five to five,” Bafana coach Gordon Igesund said at a press conference at the Cape Town Stadium yesterday.
“This is a great period for South African football, and to be honest with you, I think the support has been great…
“There is a good vibe out there, and I think we will play in front of full houses. This is a great chance to unite the country again.”
Igesund said it was a “great pity” that Capetonians were going to miss out on live Afcon games.
Tickets are available from Computicket and Shoprite Checkers. By late yesterday, R50 tickets had been sold out and only R100 tickets were left.
The public can also purchase tickets at the Civic Centre, municipal offices in Mitchells Plein, Khayelitsha, Athlone, Bellville and Milnerton, as well as at MyCiTi kiosks. The city will make available the fan walk along Somerset Road. MyCiTi transport will be free to ticketholders after the game and there will be trains after the match.