For those of you who have been following the currect African Cup of Nations in Equatorial Guinea and Gabon, the one thing we notice are the crowds. Apart from when Equitorial Guinea and Gabon play to large, enthusiastic crowds, the other matches are almost ignored.
132 was the announced attendance at last Monday's match where Sudan beat Burkino Faso to qualify for the quarter-finals. There were more players, officials and press. www.cafonline.com. In Libreville at the brand new 40,000 L'Amitie Stadium there was a similar sparse crowd to watch Morocco v Niger.
Unlike the EUROS in Europe, held every four years, with most matches are a sell-out, the African version is held every two years, much to the dismay of European clubs who lose many stars for a month in mid season.
Well, its going to get worse my friends!! In January 2013 the next tournament will be held in South Africa, after original planned host Libya went through a revolution, and CAF made the welcome change. Also it was deemed necessary not to play in FIFA World Cup years as had been done.
At least South Africa won't have to qualify as the host nation, and there are plenty of stadiums, built for FIFA World Cup 2010 ready and able to play host to the rest of Africa. South Africa, along with Sudan, Egypt and Ethiopia were the founding members of CAF in 1953.
The SA Bafana Bafana (the Boys) coach Pitso Mosimane who has a year left on his current contract has been given an ultimatum. Do well or go. It was embarrasing not to qualify for this January's Cup and the U23 team was knocked out early on the road to the 2012 London Olympic tournamen, Acting SAFA president Mwelo Nonkonyane told Pitso that the association was backing him politically and financially, and a place in the 2013 final was a MUST- or heads would roll. www.safa.net. He only has one assistant, Jairo Lea, but more help will be added.
SAFA CEO Robin Petersen has a goal of all the national teams being in the top three on the continent and top 20 in FIFA world-wide rankings. "The first step in thinking big is to set goals. In the 1990's the national team reached 16th place in the FIFA rankings, and despite millions poured into the Premier Soccer League by television and major sponsors they have gone backwards. www.psl.co.za
The Under 20's were knocked out of The COSAFA CUP at the first stage by Zambia 5-1. One pleasing note is that women's national team, Banyana Banyana (The Girls), has qualified for the Olympics for the very first time.