SA World Cup 2010: Ticket prices keep Africans away

JOHANNESBURG – South Africa 2010 World Cup organizing committee is a worried lot. Less than 100 000 tickets have been sold in Africa and even Bafana Bafana games are currently undersubscribed.

According to media reports, 2010 Local Organizing Committee, Danny Jordaan on Tuesday told the media that few local fans are buying tickets for Bafana Bafana’s Group A matches.

Said Jordaan: "This will be the first time in World Cup history that the host nation are not topping the ticket sales list. Sadly Bafana are not even in the top 10. England at this stage will have more supporters at their country’s games than will be at Bafana matches.

"It will be tragic if this trend continues and I appeal to local fans to come out and support their country," he added.

South Africa opens the tournament with a clash with Mexico, followed by Uruguay at Loftus on January 16. They will finish their group programme against France in Bloemfontein on January 22.

African participation

Said Jordaan: "We want this World Cup to be an African World Cup and yet so far all the African teams involved are not coming to the party."

Jordann said the biggest concern at this stage is that South African fans are not buying tickets for Bafana matches. "The sales locally are good for other countries, but not Bafana matches and that is something we have to address urgently."

According to reports of the 3.1 million tickets available, only over a million have been sold. He said apart from Africa the uptake of tickets worldwide has been encouraging.

Although the World Cup euphoria has gripped South Africa and the African continent at large, the pricing of the tickets is likely to deter most soccer enthusiasts.

Prices

According to Fifa, the cheapest ticket will cost US$80 for Category 3 tickets that will entail the holder to sit behind goals.

The pricing is in categories where Category 1 ticket holders will be sitting alongside the pitch.

Category 2 tickets mean holders will sit adjacent to Category 1, in the corners.

Prices of tickets increase from the lowest category going up and from the group matches to the final.

However, tickets for the opening match between South Africa and Mexico have been pegged higher than all the matches except the final with the cheapest ticket going for US$200.

The cheapest ticket for the final is going for US$400.

In South African rand US$200 is equivalent to 1500rand depending on the exchange rate and that’s a full month salary for the poorly paid.

Fifa has, however, come up with a special price for spectators in wheelchairs with the prices ranging from US$20 to US$150.

Rights

In Zimbabwe, controversial businessman Phillip Chiyangwa claims to have spent US$1 million to secure his company, Native Investments Africa Groups (NIAG), the 2010 soccer World Cup agent rights for Zimbabwe.

The controversial businessman, who is President Mugabe’s nephew said most local companies had failed to raise the amount resulting in NIAG securing the rights to be the local agent for Match Hospitality AG.

“We have been facilitating the sale of hospitality suites tickets ranging from US$550 to US$7 500 depending on the specific matches,’’ he said.