Work has intensified over the National Stadium damaged pitch for Saturday’s 2013 Africa Cup of Nations opening as officials lamented “scandalous” ticket sales.
The pitch, which three years ago staged the final of the World Cup, was damaged recently during a Lady Gaga musical concert and eversince the authorities have been working round the clock to ensure it is back in a condition befitting of the opening day of action.
There are still some bad patches around the pitch as workers continue to try to improve the facility.
On Saturday, hosts South Africa take on debutants Cape Verde, while Angola and Morocco will do battle in the other match in Group A.
The pitch has been relaid and top stadium management official Jacques Grobelaar has assured all hands are on deck to ensure a befitting opening day for the AFCON.
“The proof of the pudding is in the eating,” simply declared Johannesburg mayor Parks Tau.
However, ticket sales have not gone as smoothly as was hoped with South Africa sports minister Fikile Mbalula labelling the whole process “scandalous” and “complicated”.
However, LOC chief executive Mvubo Mbebe blamed budgetary constraints and the short time to market the tournament.
“We do not have the time and resources at our disposal. If we had time, we would have done things differently,” Mbebe said.