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Posted on Tuesday, 15 January 2013 16:29

2013 Africa Cup of Nations: South Africa brings back the glamour

Soccer City Stadium, Johannesburg/Photo©ReutersHaving successfully hosted the 2010 World Cup, South Africa has what it takes to bring the sparkle back to the Africa Cup of Nations, which it hosts in 2013 after it swapped places with troubled Libya.


The return of African football's premier event to South Africa brings the glamour of the country's cosmopolitan cities to a tournament that has in recent years looked a shadow of its former self.

Falling attendance characterised the last two tournaments in Angola and Equatorial Guinea/Gabon, and the absence of some of the continent's giants – Cameroon, Nigeria and Egypt – had a noticeable effect.

South Africa stepped into the void in August 2011 after Libya pulled out due to political unrest.

This eleventh-hour change caught the South African government and municipalities by surprise, and some of the more prominent cities declined to bid, leaving the tournament to be held in Rustenburg, Nelspruit and Port Elizabeth.

Johannesburg will host the opening match and the final, while the host team will be based in Durban.

Drumming up enthusiasm

South Africa has already hosted major football events – including the World Cup in 2010 – and regularly sees teams like Manchester United, Tottenham Hotspur and Barcelona, so the lure of an African Cup of Nations is not as great as it might be in countries less accustomed to high-profile events.

Football fans have tended to favour two local clubs, Kaiser Chiefs and Orlando Pir- ates, over the national team.

If Bafana Bafana, as the South African team is known, fails to live up to expectations, the crowds could quickly vanish.

One thing in South Africa's favour is the excellent state of the facilities across the country after the 2010 FIFA World Cup.

The football pitches are in pristine condition and will be the perfect stage for Africa's top teams to showcase their ability to the vast continental audience that follows the event●

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