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The government is spending more than R60 million for Durban to host its share of the Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) soccer tournament, which kicks off in January next year.
Vusi Mazibuko, the eThekwini municipality’s head of Afcon preparations, said the city had set aside a budget of R20m, while the province would contribute R15m.
The national government has committed R17m, in addition to R11m to host the Afcon draw that took place at Durban’s International Convention Centre last month.
Mazibuko explained the Afcon finances at a media briefing in Durban on Wednesday.
“The money from provincial and national government for hosting Afcon is not in our coffers yet. However, they have made the commitment and will pay,” Mazibuko said.
Speaking to The Mercury, he said it was “money well spent” considering “the profile of the event as a continental soccer showpiece”. However, he said more needed to be done to market the tournament, which was less than two months away.
“We don’t have the luxury of having four to five years to prepare, like we did for the 2010 World Cup. But we still want to deliver a high-profile event for Africa,” Mazibuko said.
The government had realised that things could be done within the available resources. Internal staff resources within the municipality and province were being used to co-ordinate and prepare for Afcon.
Last week the Afcon 2013 local organising committee (LOC) also announced it had cut more than R100m off its allocated budget of R430m after “tightening a few belts” and a review of its costs.
Deputy Finance Minister Nhlanhla Nene, the chairman of the organising committee’s finance panel, has pledged to cut “any form of extravagance”.
Meanwhile, Mazibuko said that Durban, being Bafana Bafana’s base camp for the tournament, would increase its marketing campaign around the event and boost ticket sales.
“We made the case to the Confederation of African Football and the SA Football Association to have Group A of Afcon 2013 based in Durban, and we promised them Moses Mabhida Stadium would be full on all match days with 50 000 fans,” he said.
“We want the stadiums full whether Bafana Bafana is playing or not.”
Sales of Afcon tickets have been slow, with only 40 000 of the 500 000 available tickets sold.
“Tickets can be bought at the Spar, over the phone and via the internet. But we are speaking to the LOC to open a ticket sales outlet at Moses Mabhida Stadium as well as launching mobile ticket sales units that can be taken to different communities in KwaZulu-Natal where marketing activations can also be done,” Mazibuko said.