AFCON fails to draw big crowds, but ticketing failure doesn’t help

January 16 – Fans trying to attend games at the Africa Cup of Nations in Ivory Coast have been left frustrated even though matches have been played in half-empty stadiums.

This is not something new at some major regional tournaments and AFCON organisers on Wednesday partially acknowledged the ticketing issues.

“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 Confederation of African Football said in a statement.

The organising committee said the reason there were empty seats for host nation Ivory Coast’s match against Guinea-Bissau at the 60,000-capacity Alassane Ouattara Stadium on Saturday was because of so-called ‘dead seats’, including those with reduced visibility or security seats. The stadium announcer gave an attendance of 36,858 even though 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 and also empty seats for the matches between Egypt and Mozambique, and Ghana and Cape Verde.

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.

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