TICKETS for the 2013 African Cup of Nations (Afcon) officially went on sale in Port Elizabeth yesterday.
Local organising committee chief operations officer Andrew Dipela conducted the Afcon public ticket sales launch under the theme iTikithi eSandleni, which translates to "in possession of a valid ticket", at Super Spar in New Brighton.
Eastern Cape soccer fans can now secure their tickets for matches at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium, with Afcon 2013 being held from January 19 to February 10.
Dipela said the launch confirmed that Nelson Mandela Bay would be one of the host cities for Afcon.
"It is totally untrue that the city will be stripped of the hosting title of the Afcon next year because of financial problems. I'm telling you now that we are here to launch the ticket sales of an African event that will be hosted by the metro municipality," Dipela said.
He said the event belonged to South Africans and the communities of Nelson Mandela Bay and the surrounding areas had a responsibility to buy the tickets to fill the stadium.
He said that a 20% discount would be offered to fans purchasing tickets before October 24, the date when the draw for the tournament's matches will be made in Durban. Port Elizabeth will host eight games, with the first taking place on January 20. The line-up of teams to play in PE will be known after the draw.
Nelson Mandela Bay deputy mayor Nancy Sihlwayi and the chairwoman of sport and recreation Babalwa Lobishe were the first to purchase their tickets during the launch.
Sihlwayi said: "This is a sporting city and the community doesn't want to miss this event, hence we urge them to buy their tickets as early as possible."
The ticket prices range from R50 to R200 and are available at special kiosks in selected Spar stores or via the local organising committee's call centre on 087-980-3000.