Tovey, Baloyi on Afcon mission

      Brian Baloyi
AMBASSADOR: Brian Baloyi

FORMER Bafana Bafana captain Neil Tovey and goalie Brian Baloyi have been roped in to help ignite excitement for the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations finals.

The duo have been asked by Standard Bank to promote the 16-nation continental soccer showpiece organised by the Confederation of African Football.

Tovey and Baloyi will begin in earnest on November 17 in the Eastern Cape, where the Afcon trophy with be displayed at the Greenacres mall in Port Elizabeth.

"Taking the trophy to the people of the Eastern Cape and other provinces is a wonderful idea and the bank should be applauded for the initiative," said Tovey, who led Bafana Bafana when they lifted the 1996 Afcon on home soil.

Baloyi is equally excited to be involved in the project as a joint ambassador of the tournament, which starts on January 19 with a match between Bafana Bafana and Cape Verde at Soccer City.

"The eyes of the continent will turn to South Africa in January and we want to show them what fantastic hosts we are and what a great footballing country this is. That is why we want to create a positive vibe among South African fans and really help them get behind the tournament," Baloyi said.

The Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium is one of the match venues for the tournament with seven games to be played at the facility, including the third place play-off. Port Elizabeth will host Group B including the Black Stars of Ghana, Mali, Democratic Republic of Congo and Niger.

"On the face of it you would say Ghana and Mali should advance, but the DR Congo has coach Claude LeRoy in charge and few people know more about African football than him," said Tovey.

Said Baloyi: "It is all about momentum and if any side can get a win in their first game, then anything is possible, because that lifts the players, the technical staff and the fans. In just about every Africa Cup of Nations tournament of the past 20 years there have been more fancied sides going out in the first round, so anything is possible."

From Port Elizabeth, the trophy will go to Jabulani mall in Soweto on 24 November, followed by Riverside mall in Mbombela on December 8.