Cape Town – Chief executive of the Local Organising Committee (LOC), Mvuzo Mbebe says he has concerns that South Africa will not meet ticket its sales targets for the African Nations Championship (Chan) tournament starting in Cape Town on Saturday.
“Am I excited at this stage about the ticket sales? No I'm not,” he said in Cape Town on Friday.
“We're targeting 250,000 ticket sales by the end of the tournament. To date, we have printed and distributed 195,000 tickets. For the opening ceremony, we're targeting to print and distribute 50,000 tickets. We have now sold 21,000 tickets.
“We're keeping a close watch on this and I'm sure by tomorrow, this game will be closed (to sales).”
Bafana Bafana will open the tournament – reserved for players plying their trade within the boundaries of their country of birth – against Mozambique, before Mali and Nigeria play the second game of group A.
Mbebe said the LOC were determined to meet the requirements of the event, using last year's Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) as a foundation for this year's continental spectacle.
“When we launched Chan in June, we made a commitment that we would meet world standards,” Mbebe said.
“We made a promise to Caf that the standards set during Afcon would not be lowered.
“It's going to be a tournament that everyone will be proud of. It's a commitment that we don't take lightly.”
Despite the negatives, Mbebe felt confident the LOC were on course to host a successful tournament, one which the rest of the African nations could use as a benchmark.
“We can assure the nation that, from where we sit, we believe we are ready. It is critical now for the country to support us.
“There is no reason for people to remain pessimistic. I'm sure Caf has a case to make to Fifa that Chan is a big tournament. It is not a tournament which should be seen in any other light. Chan requires and demands it's place in international football.”
Meanwhile, Caf vice-president Almamy Kabele Camara thanked Mbebe and his team, as well as the SA Football Association (Safa) for their hard work ahead of the tournament, which concludes in Cape Town on February 1.
“Right from the beginning, I'd like to assure you that all the means have been taken by Safa to make this a successful tournament,” Camara said.
“Everything has been set in motion. They have spared no effort in taking care of all the requirements.” – Sapa