On Saturday, South Africa will face Mali in a quarter final match which promises to be a thriller at Durban’s Moses Mabhida Stadium, while Cape Verde will play Ghana at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium.
On Sunday, Togo will lock horns with Burkina Faso, while Nigeria will face their toughest opponents, Ivory Coast, at the Royal Bafokeng Stadium in Rustenburg.
“We know there are challenges but we are happy with the manner in which the tournament has progressed so far. We got thumbs up from CAF (the Confederation of African Football) as well as from the South African public. Obviously, we are worried about the turnout at Nelson Mandela Bay and that’s one area, and as the LOC we need to work on it,” LOC Chief Executive Officer Mvuzo Mbebe said on Friday.
Mbebe urged the people of Port Elizabeth to turn out in large numbers at the stadium to watch the quarter final match between tournament debutants, Cape Verde and the Black Stars of Ghana.
Meanwhile, there have been complaints about the poor state of the pitch at the Mbombela Stadium in Nelspruit. The problem of the pitch arose after sand was laid down as a measure to counter the heavy rains that hit the area before the tournament started on 19 January.
The stadium will host the quarter final match between Togo and Burkina Faso on Sunday before hosting a semi-final match on 6 February.
“We’ve removed the sand from the pitch as it will slow down the growth of the grass. We’ve put additional chemicals and some fertilisers to speed up the growth of the grass.
“We are hopeful that there would be an improvement at the stadium before the remaining games,” Mbebe said.
However, CAF secretary-general Hicham El Amrani said although there were new measures in place, the stadium would not return to its normal condition before the remaining two games to be played at the stadium.
The remaining eight nations in the CAN 2013 are South Africa, Mali, Cape Verde, Ghana, Togo, Burkina Faso, Nigeria and Ivory Coast.