Afcon trophy heads to Friendly City
The Trophy of Africa’s most prestigious football tournament is headed to Port Elizabeth, where Standard Bank and the Confederation of African Football (CAF) are offering fans the opportunity to see and be photographed with the coveted prize.
The Orange Africa Cup of Nations Trophy will be at the Greenacres Mall in Port Elizabeth on 17 November from 11:00 to 15:00, accompanied by two Bafana Bafana legends in Neil Tovey and Brian Baloyi.
This follows the success of the Trophy Tour stop-over in Durban last month, where hundreds of fans got to see and be photographed with the Trophy. They also interacted with Neil Tovey and Brian Baloyi.
“We had a great time in Durban, it was fun to meet the fans and see the excitement on their faces for the upcoming tournament. Taking the Trophy to the people like this is a wonderful idea from Standard Bank and they should be applauded for the initiative,” Tovey said.
Baloyi agrees and says it helps to build a sense of occasion ahead of the 2013 event.
“The eyes of the continent will turn to South Africa in January next year and we want to show them what fantastic hosts we are and what a great footballing country this is. That is why we want to create a positive vibe among South African fans and really help them get behind the tournament. Standard Bank has gone a long way in achieving this,” Baloyi said.
Port Elizabeth is known as the Friendly City and it is gearing up to hosts fans from across the continent for the tournament that runs from January 19 to February 10. The Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium will be a major host of matches, with seven games to be played at the venue, including the third-place play-off.
The city will be hosting Group B, which includes the Black Stars of Ghana, bronze medalists in 2012 Mali, DR Congo and Niger. Both Tovey and Baloyi think it will be a tough pool.
“On the face of it you would say Ghana and Mali should advance, but the DR Congo has Coach Claude LeRoy in charge and few people know more about African football than him. I think he is appearing at his eighth Africa Cup of Nations as a coach. And Niger have proven to be a stubborn opponent before too,” Tovey says.
“It is all about momentum and if any side can get a win in their first game, then anything is possible, because that lifts the players, the technical staff and the fans. In just about every Africa Cup of Nations tournament of the last 20 years there have been more fancied sides going out in the first round, so anything is possible. Not many would have picked Zambia to get out of their group, let alone with the trophy in Equatorial Guinea and Gabon,” Baloyi added.
After Port Elizabeth, Standard Bank takes the Trophy to the Jabulani Mall in Soweto on 24 November (11:00-15:00), before the final stop at the Riverside Mall in Nelspruit on 8 December (11:00-15:00).
Standard Bank is the Official Banking Partner of the Africa Cup of Nations, SA 2013 and the Trophy Tour is an initiative by CAF and the bank to present “Africa’s Cup” to fans in the run-up to the event. The 2008 tournament in Ghana and the 2010 event in Angola were also supported by Standard Bank Trophy Tours.
“We are delighted to have the trophy back in Mzansi after hosting successful Standard Bank Trophy Tours in the country ahead of previous Orange Africa Cup of Nations tournaments. The fact that this time it will stay here until the final of the 2013 event on February 10 makes it extra special.
“The Africa Cup of Nations is a tournament steeped in history and over the past 55 years of competition we have seen some memorable tournaments. This Standard Bank Trophy Tour is the start of what we hope will be another great memory for the continent and further proof of South Africa’s tremendous ability to host major international competitions,” said Jenny Pheiffer, Head of Brand and Sponsorships, Standard Bank.
“We see this as a major opportunity to connect with our customers, football fans and our employees through our shared passion for Africa and African football. It will allow them an opportunity to become part of the South Africa 2013 tournament and share their love for the game,” she added.