THE 500 volunteers set to assist at the Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) tournament in Nelson Mandela Bay later this month will complete their training this week, in order to ensure the soccer spectacle runs smoothly.
According to the Bay's local organising committee (LOC), the volunteers have been trained to perform a range of duties and will be prepared to welcome visitors and residents to the eight games to be hosted at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium.
To be considered as a volunteer, applicants had to be 18 years or older, have matric, have a valid South African identity document and no criminal record, LOC chief communications officer Sipho Sithole said.
"Our volunteers are a critical element of the tournament and we will not be able to run a smooth event without them. They are very important. They will be working every match day and some will be working shifts until late at night. They will be performing all kinds of duties to ensure the event is a success.
"We want to ensure visitors have a wonderful experience so that they will return to Nelson Mandela Bay."
Sithole said that from August last year the LOC had sent out numerous press releases and radio announcements requesting potential volunteers to apply, and about 26000 applications had been received countrywide. Of these, 5000 were successful, 500 of them in Nelson Mandela Bay.
"There is an equal spread of men and women and ages range from the young to pensioners.
"They will receive a stipend of R200 per day, which is basically only enough for transport every day. They will also receive a meal each day and be kitted out in Adidas gear."
Sithole said volunteers' duties included welcoming services at hotels and airports, assisting with security and hospitality services, assisting reporters and photographers at the media centre, and assisting with logistics services.
Nelson Mandela Bay volunteer coordinator Isaac Klaas said the volunteers were motivated and enthusiastic about training and working at the event. "They want people to come out in their numbers to watch the matches," Klaas said.