Afcon cutbacks on the cards

THE Local Organising Committee of the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations begins its "intense" marketing campaign in earnest from today, but budget cuts are expected.

Mvuso Mbebe, the organising committee's chief executive, said yesterday said that while the government had allocated R452-million to help fund the tournament, the amount was still 4% short of what had been requested.

"Anyone in finance will tell you that they always want more (money) for a project. We expected 50% from the government to fund the hosting of such a tournament, but we got 46% and we will have to make it work," said Mbebe.

"We are now asking ourselves if we can still host the tournament to the level that is required even though we did not get all we requested. But we will still manage to make our marketing visible in November."

Mbebe said critical plans will have to be sacrificed when the posters and adverts go up in host cities.

Mbebe maintained that November would be a crucial month for the organising committee, which is also trying to avoid a ticket fiasco, as well as empty stadiums, ahead of the tournament.

"Those critical things we can do without will have to be sacrificed. For instance if we were going for five advertisements, we will now have to settle for three. If the communications department needed five staff members, they will have to do with four," Mbebe said.

"But we are still comfortable with what the government has given us."

The CEO said concerns regarding Spar outlets, which are partnering with the LOC to sell tickets to the public, will be addressed at a meeting with the retailer tomorrow.

The organising committee's ticket sales target for December is between 300,000 to 400,000, Mbebe said.

And they aim to sell 500,000 before the competition kicks off in January.

"We still think call centres are the easiest way to get these tickets, but they are not being used.

"(Tomorrow) we will discuss how to solve these problems," Mbebe said.