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Updated January 18th, 2024 at 09:53 IST

Fans left frustrated amid ticket issues at Africa Cup of Nations

Half-empty stadiums have been witnessed matches during the Africa Cup of Nations, despite the frustration of fans trying to secure tickets.

 Stade Olympique Alassane Outtara B'Ebimpe
People stand in front of Stade Olympique Alassane Outtara B'Ebimpe before the African Cup of Nations Group A soccer match between Nigeria and Equatorial Guineas in Abidjan, Ivory Coast | Image: AP
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Fans hoping to attend games at the Africa Cup of Nations have been frustrated in their efforts to get tickets, and yet matches have been played in half-empty stadiums.

Organizers of the tournament on Wednesday acknowledged ticketing issues for the opening game, but failed to address any potential problems preventing fans from attending other matches so far.

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”Although there were some printing issues on the first day of the AFCON due to last-minute group purchases of physical tickets, the ticketing system has since been adapted to deal with such requests,” the African soccer confederation (CAF) said in a statement.

CAF said the system was “functioning well” with more than 60% of tickets sold through its online platform internationally.

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The 2023 Africa Cup organizing committee (COCAN) said the reason there were empty seats for host nation Ivory Coast’s match against Guinea-Bissau in the tournament opener at the 60,000-capacity Alassane Ouattara Stadium on Saturday was because of so-called “dead seats,” which include places with reduced visibility or security seats.

Excluding these places would leave the stadium with a useable capacity of 50,786.

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Yet the stadium announcer gave an attendance of 36,858 people for the tournament’s opening match. It had been billed as a sell-out.

There were fewer than 10,000 fans at the match between Nigeria and Equatorial Guinea in the same stadium the next day. There were also many empty seats in the Félix Houphouët-Boigny Stadium in Abidjan for the matches between Egypt and Mozambique, and Ghana and Cape Verde on Sunday.

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In Yamoussoukro on Monday, Cameroon and Guinea fans were left furious when they couldn’t gain entrance to their teams’ match despite plenty of available places inside.

Local media reported that Ivorian prime minister Robert Beugré Mambé said Monday he would personally take charge of the problem and that “you will see results within 48 hours.”

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CAF confirmed Wednesday it was responsible for ticket sales. Together with COCAN, they encouraged local fans to try one of 51 selling points around Ivory Coast to buy physical tickets for games.

 

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Published January 18th, 2024 at 09:53 IST

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