South Africa Football Association (SAFA) have become increasingly worried with the response of fans towards this Saturday’s 2019 Africa Cup of Nations qualifier against Nigeria at the FNB Stadium in Johannesburg.
As at Tuesday afternoon, only 7, 300 of the 40,000 match tickets have been sold.
According to SowetanLIVE, there are fears that the stands at the Stadium maybe dominated by Nigerians living in Johannesburg.
Nigeria has a high presence in Johannesburg and surrounding areas and Bafana will need South Africans to show the same urgency they usually display ahead of matches between Kaizer Chiefs and Orlando Pirates.
Chief Executive of the Stadium Management South Africa (SMSA), Jacques Grobbelaar, confirmed the low numbers to SowetanLIVE on Tuesday while at the same time urging South Africans to buy tickets and support the team.
“Of course we are worried by the low numbers‚” he said.
“We are playing against one of the best teams on the continent and our biggest rivals.
“There is no greater game to go out there with friends and family and enjoy‚ but at the moment the numbers are not looking good.
“We are selling about 2000 a day which is not bad and our projections are that we will reach about 20 000 by Friday.
“We have capped the tickets at 41 000 and we hope that there is a sudden surge later in the week because we want South Africans to be there and cheer the boys. “This is an important game for the country.”
Head coach, Staurt Baxter also called on fans to turn out to cheer Bafana Bafana. “When we went to Nigeria it was packed for that match‚” Baxter said.
“As you know they are very partisan and hostile.
“We would like to think that they will get the same treatment when they come to South Africa.
“I don’t think it matters if the public at large think that we played well in our last game or we were great when we played Nigeria away or Paraguay (Bafana’s Nelson Mandela Challenge opponents at the Moses Mabhida Stadium on Tuesday next week) is an interesting team one coming up.
“This Nigeria game is big‚ the reputation is big and I hope that there will be South Africans who will be there and want Bafana Bafana to win,” he concluded.