Orange African Cup of Nations (AFCON) - The South African Weather Service on Thursday forecast heavy downpour at the weekend when the Orange African Cup of Nations (AFCON) gets underway. The heavy rains are also likely to have serious impact on the opening day of the tournament Saturday at the National Stadium in Johannesburg.
PANA reports that preparations for the tournament by several competing nations in Nelspruit have also been hampered by heavy rains with practice sessions washed out.
The South African Sports Minister, Fikile Mbalula, on Wednesday expressed confidence that the event will be a success, despite initial hiccups.
'I don't draw strength from lamenting the difficulties. We have all observed that things could have been done differently,' Mbalula said at a Pretoria press briefing.
He said that the initial ticketing problems had been resolved and called on South Africans to get behind the tournament, held for the second time on South African soil.
South African officials have urged South Africans to unite and support their national team and the tournament by wearing their football shirts on Fridays.
“All eyes will be on South Africa for the next few weeks as we once again show the world that we are capable of hosting the biggest and best international tournaments. Let's give our African brothers and sisters a warm welcome,' they said, adding that 'Bafana Bafana carries the hopes of 50 million South Africans – let's make them feel the support from each one of us.”
The tournament was moved from original host Libya because of the political instability there.