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Thursday, January 27, 2022

Stadium to be ‘kept busy’

cape town stadium


File photo – Fireworks fly during the last song as Coldplay rock the stage at the Cape Town Stadium. Photo: Matthew Jordaan

Cape Town might have missed out on hosting African Cup of Nations matches next year, but the city says there are several high-profile events booked for its stadium instead.

Four events are booked for the stadium in January. These include an international music concert, an international rugby match and two film shoots. Should the city have hosted one of the Afcon matches, these events would have been scrapped.

Sports and Recreation Minister Fikile Mbalula announced the five host cities on Friday.

The City of Cape Town said it first heard of the final outcome through the media.

Stadiums in Joburg, Durban, Mpumulanga, Port Elizabeth and Rustenberg will host matches.

According to reports, Mbalula said it had been decided to keep the match venues close to each other, instead of scattering them across the country.

Mbalula’s announcement ended weeks of uncertainty, with many cities saying they were in the dark about what hosting the event would cost.

Last month, Mbalula said the national government would contribute towards the 32-game tournament, admitting it would cost millions.

Cape Town had been vocal in wanting to host matches, but said it needed clarity on the costs.

It was estimated that costs could balloon to as much as R40 million.

Last month, the city held a press conference outlining its biggest issues.

While not withdrawing its bid offer, the city said it wanted a clear cost layout before signing on.

Another issue was that other “income generating” events would have to be cancelled.

Grant Pascoe, the mayoral committee member for tourism, events and marketing, said the city was “disappointed” at not being selected to host. Yet, the stadium would be “kept busy” over the period it would have hosted Afcon matches, said Pascoe.

Pascoe said the city would have had to hand over control of the stadium to Afcon’s Local Organising Committee in November. This would have extended until February 1.

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Cape Argus

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