Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium and four training venues that have been identified for the Orange African Cup of Nations (AFCON) are ready for the four African teams that will play their group stages in the city.
That was confirmed when a high powered delegations of MECs and Local Organising Committee Head Office officials led by NMB Executive Mayor Zanoxolo Wayile did a site inspection in all the venues on Monday (subs: 7 January 2012).
Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium officials taking the political leadership inspection team through the preparations that have been made to the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium for the Orange African Cup of Nations. They are from left NMB Council Speaker Maria Hermaans, NMB Executive Mayor Zanoxolo Wayile, MEC for Local Government and Traditional Affairs Mlibo Qoboshiyane, MEC for Sport, Arts and Culture Xoliswa Tom and NMB Sport, Arts and Culture Portfolio Chairman Babalwa Lobishe.
The purpose of the site inspection was for the political leadership to check the city’s readiness on the preparation of the fields and field facilities for the AFCON tournament. The biggest African Soccer spectacle starts in January 19 in FNB stadium with a match of Bafana Bafana vs Cape Verde.
Present at the site visit was, MEC for Local Government and Traditional Affairs Mlibo Qoboshiyane, MEC for Sport, Arts and Culture Xoliswa Tom, MEC for Health Sicelo Gqobana. The EM Wayile was accompanied by Portfolio Chairman for Sport, Arts and Culture Babalwa Lobishe and the Speaker of Council Maria Hermaans.
Ghana, Mali, Niger and Democratic Republic of Congo will play their group stages at the NMB Stadium. Training venues that were identified are, Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University Sport Grounds in Summerstrand, Zwide Stadium, Gelvandale Stadium and Westbourne Oval Stadium in Central.
The delegation inspected all the venues including the Joint Operation Centre in South End Fire Station to check its readiness for the tournament.
Both the Local Organising Committee officials responsible for playing and training venues and the political leadership were satisfied about the progress that the city has made in preparing the stadiums.
In all the venues grounds men and municipal staff are currently busy doing final touches and general maintenance of the pitch. At the Nelson Mandela Bay stadium its all systems go, with the stadium ready to host the first double header matches on January 20.
On January 20, Ghana will face off with DR Congo at 15h00 while Mali will play against Niger at 18h00 the same day. MEC for Local Government Mlibo Qoboshiyane said he was convinced that the Eastern Cape was ready to host the games. “The facilities are of emaculate conditions, ready to be used. We are impressed with the preparation and the commitment the city has shown,” said Qoboshiyane.
MEC for Sport Arts and Culture Xoliswa Tom has called on people to buy the match tickets in order to fill the stadium. “Preparations have been made, it is now up to the people of the province to make the tournament a success by buying the match tickets,” she said. Tom said the NMB will be delivering a stadium and training venues that are state of the art to the tournament organizers, it was up to the people to play their part.
NMB Executive Mayor Zanoxolo Wayile thanked the officials who have been been working around the clock to make sure than the Stadium and the training venues are ready. “The effort and patriotism that has been shown by officials both from the city and the province is commendable. We as the city are now ready, its all systems go for the AFCON tournament,” said EM Wayile.
He said the City was not only hosting the AFCON games for itself. “This is a joint provincial effort to support the biggest African Soccer Tournament. We did it during the 2010 Soccer World Cup, we will to it again for our own continent,” said EM Wayile.
Issued by Mthubanzi Mniki, Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality Communications Officer
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