Cape Town ‘last minute’ 8 Nations Under 20 Soccer Tournament no compensation for losing out on 2013 Afcon!


Two weeks ago Mayor Patricia de Lille hinted at a ‘high profile’ event that was still under wraps then, that could make up for Cape Town not having been made it as host city for the African Cup of Nations (Afcon) tournament in January/February next year.  A surprise is that the announcement of an ‘8 Nations Under 20 international Football Challenge 2012’, which will be held in Cape Town from next Friday until 3 June, was only made two days ago!  With such a short lead time, and virtually no information to be found about the event, the soccer tournament is unlikely to be beneficial to tourism in Cape Town, and will not compensate for the failed bid in hosting Afcon next year. The soccer tournament next week is a sad attempt by the City of Cape Town to save face!

We wrote last week that losing the bid to be a host city for Afcon 2013 is a major tourism blow for Cape Town, and is a further disaster created by our City’s Mayoral Committee member for Tourism, Events and Marketing, Councillor Grant Pascoe, also having cost our city the Heineken Cup final earlier this year.

The City of Cape Town media release, issued yesterday, announces the tournament, organised by the City of Cape Town in conjunction with the Cape Town branch of the South African Football Association (SAFA) with a financial contribution by the Western Cape government, is to be played both at Cape Town Stadium and at Athlone Stadium in eight matches.  Teams from South Africa, Argentina, Ghana, Nigeria, Brazil, Japan, Cameroon, and Kenya are participating in the soccer tournament, seen as preparation for the FIFA Under-20 World Cup to be held in Turkey next year.

According to the release, Cape Town is hosting the ‘renowned bi-annual tournament for the second time, after a successful inauguration tournament in 2010, prior to the 2010 FIFA World Cup’.  No reference about the 2010 event could be found via a Google search, making the claim of it being ‘renowned’ untruthful and an overclaim!  Even worse, the release positions the event in the league of the Pick ‘n Pay Argus Cycle Tour and the ‘Old Mutual Town (sic) Oceans marathon’, and says that it helps to achieve its goal of positioning Cape Town as the Events Capital of Africa!  Magnifying its exaggeration, the release states that the soccer tournament will launch the future local and international careers of soccer players. Ivan Meyer, the MEC for Sport and Cultural Affairs in the province, said the the soccer tournament would position Cape Town as a ‘soccer-friendly city’, reports The New Age, ironic given that Councillor Pascoe was argumentative with the SAFA when bidding for host city of Afcon, and so lost the bid!

Interesting is that Cape Town Tourism, funded by the City of Cape Town, has not yet Tweeted about the event, preferring to focus on the floating of the beached Japanese trawler on Clifton’s First Beach yesterday. No media release has been issued by the tourism body either, proving that it does not see the tourism benefit of the soccer tournament!

The City will be using the services of 150 volunteers to run the event. Tickets cost R50 for ‘grand stand’ tickets and R20 for ‘open stand’ seats, and are for sale at Computicket. The match schedule is as follows:

Athlone Stadium

Date Time Fixture
25 May 2012 18:00 South Africa v/s Argentina
20:30 Ghana v/s Nigeria
29 May 2012 18:00 South Africa v/s Nigeria
20:30 Argentina v/s Ghana
30 May 2012 18:00 Brazil v/s Japan
20:30 Cameroon v/s Kenya
1 June 2012 18:00 Semi Final 1
20:30 Semi Final 2

Cape Town Stadium:

Date Time Fixture
26 May 2012 14:00 Kenya v/s Japan
16:30 Brazil v/s Cameroon
27 May 2012 14:00 South Africa v/s Ghana
16:30 Argentina v/s Nigeria
28 May 2012 18:00 Brazil v/s Kenya
20:30 Cameroon v/s Japan
3 June 2012 14:00 3rd v/s 4th
16:30 Final

POSTSCRIPT 23/5: Cape Town Tourism has only written about the soccer tournament on its website today, two days before its start. There is no publicity about this non-event!  The Twitter page (@8Nations) only has 72 followers!

POSTSCRIPT 24/5: The Cape Times has reported that the Fan Walk will be opened for the Final on 3 June.  To date there has been no publicity to encourage locals to participate.  The article also states that the City of Cape Town is paying the South African Football Association R1,5 million as a ‘grant in aid’, while the Western Cape government has ‘in principle committed’ the same amount.

POSTSCRIPT 27/5: The Weekend Argus yesterday billed the effect of the soccer tournament on Cape Town’s hospitality industry as a ‘mid-winter tourist boost’, a dishonest report – Cape Town has never been quieter!  Ivan Meyer, the province’s Minister of Cultural Affairs, Sport and Recreation, who does not handle the tourism portfolio, stated that the tournament would impact on the economy of the province, through ‘ticket sales, accommodation, flights, etc’. Cape Town Chamber of Commerce President Michael Bagraim, known for his media gaffes, reinforced the exaggerated benefit of the tournament: ‘Bagraim added that a major event such as this was similar to the festive season. bringing a great deal of money into the city’!  One wonders why these two personalities, and the Weekend Argus with it, are misleading the tourism industry and the Cape Town public in this report. SAFA Cape Town President Norman Arendse pointed out that the 8 Nations Under-20 soccer challenge should not be seen as a ‘replacement’ for losing out on being an AFCON host city next year.

POSTSCRIPT 27/5: Cape Town Tourism, the city’s tourism marketing body funded by the Councillor Pascoe’s department, has only Tweeted once about the soccer tournament, signalling its lack of tourism interest in the event!

POSTSCRIPT 28/5: We received the following e-mail from Wadia Sinclair, with some valid questions:

“Good day, After reading some of the comments I would like to give version:

This tournament was poorly advertised.

Parking a major problem @ CT Stadium, all parking around the stadium was cordoned off. WHY??????

Why do we have to buy eats inside the stadium at RIDICULOUS prices? I would rather bring my own eats than have all these vendors walking up & down pass me. Is this stadium not for the PEOPLE….

We as a family enjoy soccer but please why all the inconvenience”.

POSTSCRIPT 28/5: The 8 Nations Under 20 soccer tournament ticket sales must be so poor that they are offering a free ticket for every ticket bought for the Semi Final or Final, Councillor Pascoe Tweeted today!

POSTSCRIPT 28/5:  Councillor Pascoe appears to be getting annoyed  about the feedback in this blogpost, making the following statement on Twitter this evening: you don’t have a mandate to speak on behalf of anybody”!

POSTSCRIPT 29/5: The Cape Times reported today that the support of the soccer tournament has been so poor in terms of attendance that Cape Town faces the danger of not hosting the 2014 Eight Nation Under 20 soccer tournament. There is an admission that the free ticket give-away is to attract a greater attendance.

Chris von Ulmenstein, Whale Cottage Portfolio: Twitter:@WhaleCottage

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17 replies on “Cape Town ‘last minute’ 8 Nations Under 20 Soccer Tournament no compensation for losing out on 2013 Afcon!”

  1. I am sooo disgusted with Safa or whoever is organising this tournament. They banned all LFA’s from playing their usual games for this weekend 26/27May and also next weekend except for the 2nd June. They advertised the prices for ALL games at R25 behind the poles & R50 on the sides and now they won’t release tickets for the final because they want to push up the price to R50 & R80 and YES this event is poorly advertised – pathetic!!

  2. Thank you for sharing Chantal.

    It is the ultimate NON-EVENT for Cape Town!


  3. disappointed no junior fixtures for us
    because of this stupid under 20 tournement
    SAFA should orginize this tournement at safa presedent’s backyard

  4. The whole ‘high profile’ tournament does seem to be a joke, doesn’t it Mohamed.


  5. Well Guys,…we all know they(SAFA)f…d up.
    at least lets try and support this tournament for the sake of our youngsters who are really passionate about this…

  6. Dear Leon and Mohamed

    I would like to hear from you about the problems with this tournament, from your perspective please. My e-mail address is


  7. just heard on radio (heart) sa under 20 playing @ cape town stadium on tuesday 29 may but your fixtures show athlone stadium .I love soccer and support local but this event is a joke

  8. Thank you for the feedback Roy.

    The schedule comes from the City of Cape Town media release, the facilitators of the soccer tournament!


  9. I’m disappointed that no TV channels are showing this. This would be a great pass time for us the soccer fans who don’t stay in CT. I had hoped that SuperSport at least would try show a game or two, if not, at least highlights. But low and behold, no such luck. Truly disappointing!

  10. Interesting feedback Richard, but not surprising that no TV channel is covering the tournament, as the deal was only signed about 10 days ago! This surely is too short a lead time for any TV channel?

    Alternatively, it signals what a non-event it is for them!


  11. To everyone who commented negatively…I would like to see you organize a better tournament its time we stop complaining about what went wrong and focus on what when right I have been to a number of games and watching the young guys play soccer is amazing because there is so much potential…stop complaining about your stupid LFA’s that has been suspended till next week your LFA will always be there but you wont always get the opportunity to watch the national under 20 team of Brazil, Argentina, Ghana and Nigeria play again. And you are definitely going to miss out. One day when these youngsters are famous and part of their national teams respectively then I can say I watched them play live in the under 20 team and predicted this player to make it big. Stop focusing on you small community and realize that there is a whole world of soccer out there that is much larger than you LFA…

  12. Oh and forgot to mention that this is televised on ETV which everyone in South Africa happen to have access to unlike paid satelite channels that only a few can access…

  13. Hi All

    Just returned from the match at Cape Town Stadium : watched Ghana vs Argentina. Went with some club mates and junior members from our club in Salt River. I would agree that this tournament has been poorly promoted as attendance was very poor. Parking was a nightmare ; food prices inflated and to make it worse a poor match. Our juniors were also greatly angered that they could not play matches over the past week-end due to a SAFA Cape Town instruction that no soccer be played. No matches for eager U/7 ; U/11 and the rest was a let down as this event did not feature part of the planning for the season. Organisers of this event was very poor. Why could junior soccer not have taken place on the Saturday.

  14. Dear Redau

    Thank you for your feedback about the soccer tournament.


  15. The marketing and advertisement around this event was absolutely pathetic. Brilliant idea having it in Cpt (in my opinion to make up for the AFCON cup flop), and therfore had to cancel all local LFA games to ensure attendance and cover up their mistakes.Whats worse is the lack of media exposer. Big event in cpt and Cpt local news papers and radio station have more interest in the euro2012 and who will sign for who in the EPL…Be as it may..i try my best in marketing this event at work and everywhere i go . Great soccer for the kids to see. Bet the rugby 8 nations starting next Monday in CPt will get 100x more marketing and support:)

  16. Hi to all soccer loving people.

    I must say as much as there are negatives in the organisation of the tournament, there are also positives that I have witnessed during the tournament. I watched both games on Sunday(27th May), as well as the SA vs Nigeria game on Tues (29th May), I was impressed with a few young stars for SA who look good for the future Bafana side (Snethemba Ngidi, Jerry Mxabo. It’s so unfortunate that we don’t get to know their names during the games as no team list matching jersey numbers with names of players is shown on the electronic boards at the stadiums before each game, at least for the starting line-ups. For the love of the game, I will support the tournament. Will watch 2days semi’s, mind you I have no idea which semi-final game is starting 1st, all I know is SA plays Brazil, while Japan meets Argentina. All I can say is, all the best to Amajita for 2nite’s game.

  17. To whom it may concern ,

    I’m a young 27 year old dad ,of soon to be two kids. My every ambition in life is driven by the need to provide a better life , not only for me but also for my family whilst doing what I love.

    Currently I am in the financial sector doing what I must , being good at it but not really having any passion for it. I would like to pursue my passion for soccer and knowing that I will be great at it.

    Thus far I have run a soccer tournament for youngsters in my community to lay a foundation to gain experience. The soccer tournament turned out to be rewarding in two ways , I gained from it a soccer experience whilst providing a service to my community. My other efforts in pursuing my passion was to revise soccer coaching manuals to learn different coaching styles and methods as well as implementing my own coaching tactics to explore my creativity to the game and create different strategies. I continue analyzing the game from a clear perspective and providing feedback on how a coach should line up his team in order to dominate and win .

    When given the opportunity I will excel and up-skill myself in the field of soccer coaching , I want to explore the chances of taking up soccer coaching lessons in order for me to get my accredited soccer coaching license (certificate) whilst being overseas.

    I would really appreciate the opportunity to be able to be a soccer coach and expand my horizons from there on.

    Yours faithfully


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