By Carlos Kambaekwa
The Coalition of Supporters Unions of Africa (Cosua) is targeting the 2009 FIFA Confederations World Cup as a springboard to kick-start its drive to make the 2010 FIFA World Cup finals to be hosted by South Africa a truly African event.
Cosua held its first press conference at the Sandton Convention Centre in Johannesburg on Saturday, where it outlined its activities.
The president of Cosua, Sarfo Abebrese, a Ghanaian-born lawyer by profession, says the primary objective of Cosua is to ensure that Africa as a continent benefits from the 2010 World Cup finals – even those countries that fail to qualify for the finals.
“The last 45 years African leaders have been trying everything to bring about unity on the African continent with minimal success, but the 2010 FIFA World Cup finals offers the ideal opportunity to realise this dream and Cosua would like to leave an everlasting impression.”
Abebrese underlines the importance of the 2009 FIFA Confederations Cup that will serve as the trial period for South Africa’s ability to host an event of such magnitude.
“Cosua wants to deliver on the 2009 FIFA Confederations Cup and erase any doubts in the minds of those who still have reservations about the administrative acumen of Africans. Research has proven that 75 percent of success evaluation is based on crowd attendance and we at Cosua are seriously committed to lure about 1 000 supporters from each of the 53 nations on the African continent. We seriously want an African nation to win the 2010 FIFA World Cup,” Abebrese said.
“We strongly believe Africa has what it takes to walk away with the accolades – Cameroon and Nigeria came very close in 1990 and 1994, in Italy and the United States respectively, but both lost out under very dubious conditions.”
Abebrese says Africa should become more streetwise and try by all means to avoid anything that would disturb the business aspect of FIFA, as it could have serious repercussions. “When Cameroon played England in 1990 – they had 800 supporters in the stadium as compared to England’s 24 000 and when Nigeria were on the verge of dispatching Italy from the 1994 finals, they had 1 500 fans while the Italians had 32 000 supporters shouting for them.”
South Africa as host nation for the 2010 FIFA World Cup finals has been granted the right to host the 2009 FIFA Confederations Cup – a gesture that would give the Rainbow Nation an opportunity to test their administrative acumen to the limit and use the event as a dress rehearsal for the 2010 World Cup finals.
South Africa as hosts for the 2010 FIFA World Cup finals earns automatic qualification for next year’s Confederations Cup alongside continental champions Egypt.
CONCACAF champions, the United States of America, Asian champions Iraq, and Copa America champions Brazil are the other contenders.
World champions Italy and newly crowned European champions Spain complete the lineup while the Oceana champions are yet to be announced.
The cheapest tickets for the Confederations Cup will be US$20 for Category 4 and increases by US$30 in the last sixteen, US$75 for the quarterfinals, and with the amount doubling for the finals. Entry fee in the Category 4 for the opening ceremony will be US$70.
The lowest price for the opening match in the Category A will be US$450 and decreases to US$160 for the group matches before going up to US$200 in the last sixteen and US$300 for the quarterfinals, US$600 for the semifinals and US$900 for the final.
Meanwhile, Cosua has signed an agreement with various financial institutions worth US$12 billion for the building of property in various Southern African countries with Botswana, Mozambique, South Africa and Namibia the chief beneficiaries.
On the question as to how the recent xenophobic attacks on foreigners living in South Africa would affect Cosua’s drive to unite Africa – Abebrese says:
“Those were cowardice actions of a minor misunderstanding that were mainly influenced by the continued lack of employment amongst a small section of disillusioned South Africans,” but was quick to point out that there will be enough jobs for everyone once the noble cause of Cosua gets under way in earnest.