Afcon row over Bay’s empty seats

PORT ELIZABETH has become embroiled in a national tiff over the city’s failure to fill the Mandela Bay Stadium for the Afcon Cup.

Local Organising Committee chief executive officer Mvuzo Mbebe said at a press conference in Johannesburg yesterday he was concerned at the lack of spectators in Port Elizabeth, despite complimentary tickets and free transport being made available.

“On the issue of Nelson Mandela Bay, this concern is shared by all of us… it’s just that we are surprised by the level of that (fans not coming in numbers to the stadium),” Mbebe said at the press conference.

“More measures are being put in place in an attempt to increase the turnout at Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium,” he said.

However, Bay soccer administrators have hit back, saying that although they had received 1 000 complimentary tickets for each game played in the city, the tickets had only arrived an hour before kick-off, while the teams were warming up.

The continental event has been peppered with controversy in Nelson Mandela Bay.

Last week, The Weekend Post’s sister publication, The Herald reported that people were spotted selling Afcon tickets from “big bags” outside the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium.

Soccer fans were outraged last week when they were told by some of the outlets that tickets for the Ghana-DR Congo and Mali-Niger games were sold out, only to see on television row upon row of empty seats.

And in a letter to The Herald last week, reader Paul Ladds said he had spotted three Safa officials with pockets full of tickets

In the latest dispute, angry Afcon volunteers complained yesterday that they had not been paid the daily R200 stipend they had been promised for attending a training programme last month. They also said they had been promised two complimentary tickets per match, but had only received one. in addition they said they had not received the uniforms they had been promised.

“We are not going to work until our complaints have been listened to,” volunteers Mzingisi Mancani and Ayanda Gola said.

This is a version of an article that appeared in
the print edition of the Weekend Post on Saturday, February 2,


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