CAF gives SA thumbs-up for Afcon 2013

Nthambeleni Gabara

8 February 2013

The Confederation of African Football (CAF) has given South Africa the thumbs-up for organising a successful 2013 Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) tournament.

Speaking ahead of the final match on Sunday, CAF Secretary-General Hicham El Amrani had only good things to say about South Africa's organisation of the tournament.

"We are greatly satisfied with the hosting of this tournament so far and we are hoping to continue enjoying the remaining games, which include the runners-up and the final match," El Amrani told reporters in Johannesburg on Thursday.

"As CAF, we are satisfied with the progress of the tournament. We are satisfied with the infrastructure as well as the support from the South African government."

The 29th edition of the Afcon culminates up with a final match showdown between Nigeria and Burkina Faso at the National Stadium outside Soweto on Sunday.

The CAF secretary-general declined to comment on claims that Issa Hayatou intended to resign soon as CAF president. Hayatou has been CAF president since 1987.

Asked whether there was a chance the controversial red card given to Burkina Faso forward Jonathan Pitriopa by Tunisian referee Slim Jdidi during the semi-final match against Ghana could be reversed, El Amrani said CAF did not have the power to change the referee's decision, unless the referee admitted on his official report that he had made a mistake.

He said the CAF executive committee would meet on Friday to review the entire tournament, adding that Pitriopa's red card would be tabled for discussion.

Burkina Faso has lodged an official appeal to CAF to have the controversial red card rescinded.

According to El Amrani, the continental football governing body has since suspended the Tunisian referee for his poor handling of the semi-final match, which Burkina Faso won 3-2 in the penalty shoot-out to reach their first ever Afcon finals.

Afcon local organising committee CEO Mvuzo Mbebe urged football fans to arrive early at the stadium on Sunday so that they can witness the closing ceremony, which will start at 6:45pm.

"We are appealing to all match ticket holding fans to be at the stadium at 4pm. Together with the City of Johannesburg and Passenger Rail Agency South Africa, we've made special transport arrangements to transport fans to the stadium," he said.

Tickets for the final match have been sold out.

Source: SAnews.gov.za

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