AFCON 2013: It will be a celebration of Africa and African football-CAF Secretary General

The Confederation of African Football (CAF) signed on April 04th the Organising Association Agreement (OAA) with the South African Football Association in Johannesburg, South Africa.
CAF Secretary General Hicham El Amrani spoke to on the latest news on the preparations for the Orange Africa Cup of Nations 2013. The OAA was signed but announcing of the venues has been delayed why is that?

Hicham El Amrani:  The OAA was signed following intensive and productive 2-days meetings with the AFCON 2013 Local Organizing Committee. The spirit was excellent and the cooperation was smooth among all involved parties. We agreed on all key aspects in relationship to the event and the content of the OAA, obligations and rights.

Regarding the host cities and venues it was a matter of due diligence since SAFA needed to finalize host cities agreements and submit the same to government for ratification and this is why we have postponed the announcement of the host cities to latest by 20th April. Will CAF be going for more than the usual 4 venues that you normally use for AFCON finals? 

Hicham El Amrani: We do have a minimum of four (4) venues’ policy for AFCON finals and so far South Africa has received interest from seven or eight cities and this highlights how important the tournament is. So far we believe five (5) venues will be selected, not more, since too many venues will also present logistical and financial constraints. So we are looking forward to a confirmation from the LOC on that aspect. It is worth mentioning that South Africa will also be hosting the CHAN in 2014, another 16 team tournament, so venues not selected for the AFCON 2013 will have the opportunity to be considered as well. How do you intend to address the challenge of bringing fans to AFCON 2013 matches?  

Hicham El Amrani: It was one of the priorities we set when we met in South Africa, to focus specifically on ticketing programs and allow African football fans to celebrate this competition, whether from South Africa or from abroad. South Africa presents an ideal environment for that since it represents a great touristic destination offering possibilities for people to come and visit as well as watch some games during the tournament. With this in mind we want also to work closely with all stakeholders in South Africa to involve the local communities. This entails the implementation of social responsibility programmes and raising awareness of key issues and causes during AFCON 2013. It is also important to establish the right ticketing prices, packages and ticketing distribution system, and position the event as another opportunity for football lovers to be entertained.

We have established a roadmap with the LOC whereby ticketing sales will be divided into 4 different phases, aimed at the various audiences. We are looking as well at providing incentives and opportunities to children to come with their parents to matches. The Ticketing process will start in July this year. What are the other activities on CAF planned for the next six months?

Hicham El Amrani: We have the usual activities planned, including the running of the Orange CAF inter club competitions. Then we will have our annual meetings in May that will include the inter-clubs draw as well as the CAF Executive Committee meeting, Referees committee and inter-clubs committee meetings. We are also working on a key seminar gathering all the secretary generals of all CAF Member Associations to be held on the 27th of April in Cairo. This will serve as a platform to communicate CAF programmes as well as establish further initiatives for the betterment of African football .Then we have an extra-ordinary CAF general assembly schedule in Seychelles in September and that one will be used as a platform to propose to the Congress some amendments in our statutes. In addition, the Official Draw for the AFCON 2013 finals will take place on the 26th of October.

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