Members of the Nigerian Community in South Africa have started mobilising to support the Super Eagles during the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON).
The Leader of the Nigerian Community in South Africa, Frank Anagu, told NAN in Johannesburg on Monday that 200 tickets for each of the matches had been purchased for distribution to Nigerians, to cheer the Eagles during group games.
Anagu said Nigerians living in South Africa and Mozambique were being mobilised to support the National team.
“We have done a lot of mobilisation through the various Nigerian unions in South Africa and Mozambique for them to come out in their large numbers to support the team.
“The Nigeria Union has been making arrangements to hire 46-seater busses to take us to Nelspruit, apart from individuals that will be travelling to watch Nigerian matches.
“Our plan is to travel a day before any of our matches, to have a `one-on-one’ encounter with our national team, to motivate and support them,’’ Anagu said.
He said Nigerians in Mozambique were making their own separate arrangements to give their full support to the national team.
“As we are making arrangements here in South Africa, members of the Nigerian Community in Mozambique are also making their own arrangements.
“Mozambique is not too far to Nelspruit. It is even closer to the venue than Johannesburg, so we are expecting many Nigerians in their numbers to come from Mozambique to support our national team,’’ Anagu said.
He said members of the Nigeria Football Supporters Club in South Africa will join those coming from home to motivate the players.
Meanwhile, Mpumalanga provincial government is working round the clock to woo members of the public to purchase tickets for games.
General Manager of the province’s Culture, Sports and Recreation Department, Sipho Gama, said they had embarked on road shows to encourage members of the public to purchase tickets for the tournament.
Mbombela Stadium will host group C matches with teams – Nigeria’s Super Eagles, Zambia, the defending champions, Ethiopia and Burkina Faso.
The LOC had raised concerns at the slow tickets sales.
“We are very concerned about the slow tickets sales, we have to come out with strategies to create awareness and encourage people to buy tickets.
“People are not just buying tickets except group tickets purchased by teams playing at the centre.
“The match between Nigeria and Zambia has so far recorded the highest number of ticket sales. But sales of tickets are generally slow,’’ Gama said.
He said the awareness campaign would continue until the tournament's kick off on January 19.
“You know, where we have stated which countries will be playing in Mbombela and people are excited about it, they have got the flags of the nations playing here and the national flags of South Africa.
“We have given them Vuvuzelas and we are saying to them go and buy tickets, so that you can be at the stadium. So, I think the campaign is working for us,’’ Gama added.