Tuesday, February 12, 2008
More news coming out of Ghana in the wake of their hosting of the African Cup of Nations.
It seems that some tournament organizers are upset with all the empty seats at Accra's Obene Djan stadium during Sunday's final between Egypt and Cameroon.
Although no official attendance was given, the 45,000 capacity stadium appeared to be only around two-thirds full with swathes of empty yellow seats behind the goals.
The crowd was boosted by the presence of groups of organized fan clubs whose expenses are paid by sponsors, soccer federations or government agencies. Not real fans, but paid ones.
The only sell-out matches at the tournament were those involving hosts Ghana, who lost to Cameroon in the semi-finals.
Some group games were played in almost deserted stadiums and even the semi-final between Ivory Coast and Egypt was played in a half-empty arena in Kumasi.
Ghanaians have complained that ticket prices were beyond their reach and there have been numerous complaints that tickets were not available at designated sales points.
The tournament has suffered other problems, including a chronic shortage of hotels, while the Benin and Namibia teams said they had been approached by an unidentified man offering them money to throw games.
I suppose you can't win them all. Had Ghana won the tournament, maybe the organizers would have seen it differently.
Still, it's food for thought for Angola 2010 and South Africa 2010.
Make sure the infrastructure is in place. Make sure transport and accomodation are taken care of.
And make sure people can afford to buy tickets to the games.
All very important qualities to have when hosting an international tournament ...