WITH South Africa yesterday celebrating 100 days before the Orange Africa Cup of Nations kicks off in January, the local organising committee (LOC) and the Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality are confident of delivering a top-class tournament at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium.
LOC board member Elvis Shishana, chief operations officer Andrew Dipela, Provincial MEC for Sport and Recreation Xoliswa Tom and municipal officials marked the 100- day count-down at a function at theZwide Stadium.
The tournament kicks off on January 19 and runs until February 10.
The organisers also called for the public to help choose a mascot for Afcon 2013, with three designs – Hagozonke, Shingo and Takuma – short- listed.
In the 2010 World Cup, the country had Zakumi as the event's mascot.
Dipela said the winning design would be announced at the beginning of next month and the mascot would travel to the host cities of Johannesburg, Nelspruit, Rustenburg, Port Elizabeth and Durban.
Tom said the metro and the provincial government were ready to host Africa's biggest soccer tournament.
"We need to create a lot of vibe around this event, just like we did during the 2010 Fifa World Cup and we are appealing to the people to go out and buy tickets early," Tom said.
Municipal sport and recreation portfolio chairman Babalwa Lobishe said the metro's theme for hosting the Afcon event would be "Yeyethu (It's ours) – be part of it".
Municipal officials will attend the Afcon draw in Durban on October 24, which will determine which teams will be based in Port Elizabeth.
"Our planning is in place and we've received support from the provincial government," Lobishe said. "Every possible measure will be taken to ensure safety of the fans and the players."
She said the Gelvandale track field, Zwide Stadium, Westbourne Oval and the NMMU Stadium would be used as the training facilities.