10 January 2013
With just over a week left before the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) kicks off, the Gauteng provincial government is pulling out all the stops to ensure the tournament is a success.
The province will host the opening game of the tournament on 19 January and the final game on 10 February.
Approximately 86 000 soccer lovers are expected to fill Johannesburg’s National Stadium (as the FNB Stadium will be called for the tournament’s duration) during the opening and the closing ceremonies.
Gauteng Sport MEC Lebogang Maile said the province was fully behind Safa and Bafana Bafana in their preparations for the tournament.
“The last friendly match versus Algeria this Saturday [12 January] at Orlando Stadium will be a good platform to test our state of readiness,” he said.
Avoiding traffic congestion
Soccer fans are encouraged to make use of several facilities that have been identified for park-and-ride in order to avoid traffic congestion outside the stadium.
These are the University of the Witwatersrand, Gold Reef City, Aeroton Cemetery, Constitutional Hill, Westgate and Shareworld. Prasa will provide trains to the stadium. Commuters using the Gautrain will use Rea Vaya buses to get to the match venue.
“A detailed plan of action in conjunction with the City of Johannesburg is already in motion to ensure a seamless and incident-free tournament,” Maile said.
“We call upon all South Africans to extend warm hospitality to thousands of guests who will be visiting our province during this celebration of African football.”
‘Maintaining peace and stability’
Security personnel will be deployed to maintain peace and stability and regulate traffic movement on routes to the stadium and public viewing areas.
Paramedics and emergency personnel will also be on standby to respond to any emergencies. The Joint Operations Centre will also be activated to ensure general safety for thousands of soccer lovers during the busy period.
Public viewing areas will be operating throughout the tournament in various locations in Orange Farm, Diepsloot, Ivory Park, Diepkloof, Sedibeng, Tshwane and Merafong.
Training has commenced for informal food traders who are allowed to operate within the city. This drive is aimed at providing conducive conditions for economic growth for local businesses and ensuring that communities benefit from the soccer showpiece.
The province will also support the volunteer programme. These volunteers include those previously trained and operational in previous tournaments.
The upgraded Orlando, Milpark, Rand and Dobsonville stadia will be the official training venues for the soccer teams.
The department will also give young, aspiring football enthusiasts an opportunity to have access to their football icons that are based in their cities.