Durban hot with yellow fever

01 February 2013 - 01:59 By NIVASHNI NAIR
Moses Mabhida Stadium. File photo
Moses Mabhida Stadium. File photo

Durban has declared the Africa Cup of Nations as exciting as the 2010 World Cup - except this time Bafana Bafana have made it to the quarterfinals.

Soccer fans are expected to wear their yellow supporters' shirts with pride in a Magnificent Friday campaign today, while Sports Minister Fikile Mbalula, Durban mayor James Nxumalo, the Bafana Bafana team of 1996 and local celebrities travel around the city to rally support for tomorrow's game.

Durban's head of Afcon projects, Vusi Mazibuko, said yesterday that though the World Cup and Afcon were different tournaments the quality of soccer and the excitement were the same.

"We never doubted that Afcon would be as amazing as it is proving to be, but I think people felt the World Cup was bigger because they had been preparing for it for a long time. But now the excitement is the same," he said.

Tickets for tomorrow's game sold out quickly after Bafana's draw with Morocco on Sunday.

"The lines after that game were the longest since we starting selling tickets last year," he said.

Head of Durban Tourism Philip Sithole said the city was scoring from Bafana Bafana's winning streak, with Durban getting worldwide TV exposure worth millions.

"Durban Tourism also used the tournament as leverage to extend its global marketing campaign by signing a valuable deal with Eurosport TV to showcase destination footage of the city before and after all matches to 64 countries worldwide and almost 160million homes."

Airports Company of SA spokesman in Durban Colin Naidoo said the King Shaka International Airport was gearing up for the hundreds of Bafana fans that would be arriving in the city.

"We expect even more hype when Bafana Bafana get through to the semifinal in Durban," he said.