Pressing Issues: LOC takes African time seriously
I’m excited! Actually, I’m over the moon!
For the benefit of those who know how phlegmatic I am, the source of my mood is none other than the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations Local Organising Committee (LOC).
Yes, it’s them!
I thought my ears and eyes were playing some silly trick on me when I heard and read of the miracles they have achieved.
Following heavy criticism of the lack of publicity and marketing of the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations tournament, the LOC came out with guns blazing this week.
CEO Mvuzo Mbebe reported to the last board meeting on Thursday that “the sale of tickets has increased drastically, with more than 340 000 tickets sold”.
Wow! Who said ticket sales were slow?
Mbebe’s report on the committee’s readiness to host the tournament led the board noting “the effort by the LOC in the marketing and advertising of the tournament”.
Why? They also “commended the executive on the achievements and progress made thus far”.
I’m quoting from a press statement issued after the board meeting. The LOC assured all stakeholders that “it is ready to host the tournament that will be memorable one (sic)”.
Chairperson Chief Mwelo Nonkonyana added, for good measure: “We are confident that the tournament will be a resounding success.”
Well, to all those doubting Thomases, including yours truly and Gauteng MEC for Sport Lebogang Maile, who this week said “ticket distribution has been ineffective”, let’s eat humble pie.
Maile went on to say the LOC had never bothered to join his department when it went on road shows around Gauteng to promote the event.
The MEC castigated Safa for its lack of leadership and called on them to jack up their act, saying the last minute change to the Bafana Bafana/Algeria friendly match kick-off from 3.30pm to 8.30pm was due to the organisation’s ineptitude.
He revealed Safa had approached the Gauteng government in injury time to bail them out for this match, as there were no funds and logistics were in tatters.
Congratulations are also in order for the bright spark at Sports Minister Fikile Mbalula’s office who remembered on Tuesday afternoon that on Wednesday it would be 10 days to go before the tournament, and started churning out invitations to the media to join the honourable minister to mark this milestone.
Oh! On the same day – Tuesday – LOC chief communications officer Sipho Sithole announced that CAF would be launching a website the following day dedicated to the tournament.
Talk of the so-called African time! (Apologies to fellow Pan-Africanists.)
What a bright idea, with 10 days to go before kick-off?
I hope the “more than 700 local and international media accredited for the tournament” will give our LOC a Bells for a job well done.
And, in closing: “The Board commended the LOC CEO for steering the ship and remaining focused under extreme financial difficulties and for ensuring the LOC performs and remains within its means.”
(A colleague seated next to me while I was crafting this masterpiece asked about my swollen cheek and I told him there was nothing wrong, just that my tongue was firmly stuck in there.)