Afcon 2013 a 'success': sports minister

Sports minister Fikile Mbalula has labelled South Africa's hosting of this year's Africa Cup of Nations a major success.

Speaking in Johannesburg on Thursday Mbalula said, "The Afcon tournament (up) to this point... we can announce that it has been a great success.

"Since the tournament took off, the attendance of games has improved. South Africans, as always, have been good hosts. There have been no signs of negativity from the fans.

"I want to thank the SA Police Service and the various security forces for their efforts. To the fans from across the globe, it has been wonderful and great. What will pull fans to the stadium is flair, the beautiful game and the fact that the host nation is into the latter stages.

"The turnout has been good. Nobody can say in this country that they do not know that there is a big tournament in the country. The teams have fought hard to win; tears and celebrations have characterised this Afcon."

The group stages of the competition came to an end on Wednesday evening and the quarterfinals start on Saturday with Ghana facing off against Cape Verde and Bafana Bafana battling it out with Mali in Durban.

Mbalula believes Bafana would prove to be a difficult team to beat with the support of home fans.

"We are not playing with small boys anymore. The quarterfinals bring added pressure and everybody knows that if we lose, we are out of the tournament.

"Mali will be a tough game, but the team have proved to us that we never back down from a challenge and I am confident that will continue."

Image: Getty

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