As no African Cup of Nations (Afcon) matches are to be played in Cape Town, local football clubs, in partnership with the Government Communication and Information Services have created their own version.
Each of 16 Gugulethu clubs represent an African nation competing in Afcon and are competing following the Afcon formula. Additionally, refugees in Gugulethu are included to play for their home team.
President of the Gugulethu Football Association, Andile Siyo, said their aim was to generate support for Afcon in Cape Town and bring the spirit of the continental competition to the Western Cape.
Siyo said soccer was not as popular in the Western Cape as it was in other parts of the country and “that could be the reason why we do not have a game here in the Western Cape”.
“We want to engage the community of Cape Town to have a feeling of Afcon. All the matches will be played during the day while in the afternoons we will gather together in one place and watch the official games.”
On Saturday the officials of the 16 participating clubs gathered at Cash’s Place on NY112 in Gugulethu to draw for match fixtures and the first match, South Africa vs DRC was played before all present watched the Afcon opening ceremony on a big screen.
Although all the matches are to be played on the weekends only, they will have to play a number of matches simultaneously on a day, unlike the official Afcon, but, Siyo said the semi finals and final “won’t be disturbed”.
“On the 10th (February) we will be playing our final match just like it is going to happen in Afcon. After the match we will organized a big screen at Gugulethu Sport Complex, that’s where all clubs will watch the final,” he said.
Former Cape Town Pirates Player Cassius Ndongeni, said it was not the first time Afcon matches did not get played in Cape Town and that was “not good”.
“If we were talking about rugby or cricket something was going to be done to make sure we get those matches. I’m not blaming anyone but it would have been nice to watch the game in the stadium just to show our support.”
GCIS senior communication officer Sikelela Zokufa, said the GCIS would be supporting the unofficial Afcon programme.
“We will assist where we can and we promised that we will organize prizes for the winning clubs,” he said. –Nombulelo Damba