The organisers of the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations are bargaining on the dangling carrot of qualification for the Fifa Confederations Cup as an enticing factor that should bring thrills to the tournament.
Winners of the competition to be played in South Africa early next year will clinch the sole ticket to the Confederations Cup finals in Brazil later on in the year.
Current champions Zambia should have been heading to Brazil had Caf not moved the continental tournament to being played in every odd year, but Chipolopolo will now have to start off from scratch again.
“The fact that winners of the tournament will represent the continent at the Confederations Cup later in the year is a motivational factor that will increase the interest in the tournament,” 2013 Nations Cup CEO Mvuzo Mbebe said at a press conference.
“Everyone will want to win it for that reason and we should expect some great football from all the teams that will qualify.”
Five of the eight countries that will play at the Confederations Cup next year – Brazil, Spain, Uruguay, Japan and Mexico – have already been confirmed, with Caf, Uefa and the Oceania Football Confederation to provide the last three teams.
Meanwhile, Mvuzo adds that the 2013 Nations Cup will be a tournament that must take into consideration the huge African Diaspora resident in the country, while also using it to rid of xenophobia.
“We will be engaging everyone with regards to the tournament. If it is not the World Cup it will not sell itself. Even the choice of venues for matches will be influenced by the African Diaspora profile of that host city plus we also want to make sure that tickets are accessible and affordable.
“We should not run away from xenophobia but use the Afcon as a platform to bridge the gap of making people live in harmony together. We must use football to eliminate xenophobia,” said Mbebe.