Bus 

Team buses from MAN at the Africa Cup of Nations in Gabon

Sixteen MAN Lion’s Coaches are being used as team buses at the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations in Gabon | Comprehensive range of safety systems installed – EBS, ABS, ASR, ESP as well as fire and smoke detection systems | Driver training using MAN ProfiDrive

The team bus drivers together with the ProfiDrive trainers Denis Rigot (left) and Jimmy El-Khoury (right), as well as Burak Keskinkilic, Head of Bus Sales at the MAN Center Importer NWC Africa (back right) in front of the team bus for the Gabon national team – “Les Panthères” (“The Panthers”).

The Africa Cup of Nations is always exciting – for the fans cheering on their teams and for the footballers giving their all. This year, the players are being chauffeured by 16 MAN Lion’s Coaches, giving them the chance to relax on their way to the stadium.

It is the sporting event in Africa. Thousands of football fans experience the highs and lows of the tournament with their teams and cheer them on every step of the way. The opening match of the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations between Gabon and Guinea-Bissau kicked off on 14th January. The tournament runs until 5th February 2017 in stadia in Libreville, Franceville, Oyem and Port-Gentil, with 16 teams competing for the title of African champions. The African organisation staging the event, the Confédération Africaine de Football (CAF), ordered 16 MAN Lion’s Coaches to ensure that the players are as relaxed as possible when they arrive and can produce their best performances on the pitch. The professional footballers are being chauffeured between the stadia and their team accommodation in the luxury coaches. “This unique order came about as a result of the close and productive cooperation between the MAN importer in Gabon, SODIM TP, and the MAN Center Importer NWC Africa,” enthuses Burak Keskinkilic, Head of Bus Sales at the Center.

The MAN Lion’s Coach in front of the Stade Omar Bongo in Libreville. A total of 16 of the luxury coaches are being used at the Africa Cup of Nations.

The MAN Lion’s Coach has numerous innovative systems to ensure that driving is safe, even in challenging traffic situations. For example, the 12-metre long coaches are equipped with the EBS electronic brake system, which includes ABS, ASR, the ESP electronic stability programme, cruise control and a speed limiter. The fire and smoke detection systems in the engine compartment also ensure the highest possible level of safety for footballers, trainers, assistants and drivers. The green-tinted, double-glazed windows provide quiet and privacy inside the coaches and enable the players to fully focus on their matches. The highly efficient air conditioning system, which is adapted to local conditions, also helps to ensure their comfort. The coaches are also equipped with a DVD player with two LCD displays, a kitchen, toilet and two refrigerators.

The MAN Lion’s Coaches are powered by 400 hp (294 kW) diesel engines, which meet the Euro 4 emission standard. The MAN TipMatic gearbox reduces fuel consumption and increases driving comfort while the practical cockpit impresses with its easy-to-read displays and intuitively arranged controls. To ensure the drivers were ideally prepared for their work at the Africa Cup of Nations, they were given five days of training on the Libreville ring road by MAN ProfiDrive trainers Jimmy El-Khoury and Denis Rigot covering safety, fuel economy, guidelines and new vehicle technologies. “In addition to theoretical knowledge, there was a particular emphasis on practical training. Each of the 32 drivers who will be working at the Africa Cup of Nations spent at least two hours behind the wheel. It was not just the footballers who were training intensively ahead of the tournament,” says Rigot, bus expert from MAN Truck & Bus France. “The drivers were really impressed with how quiet the coach is inside. And they really liked the multi-function steering wheel, which makes driving safer and easier,” explains Jimmy El-Khoury, Product and Sales Engineering Manager and ProfiDrive Trainer from the Center Importer NWC Africa.

The Africa Cup of Nations has been held since 1957. The defending champions this year are Ivory Coast following their success at the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations in Equatorial Guinea. Egypt is the most successful country in the tournament’s history to date with a total of seven titles. The following countries have qualified for this year’s tournament: Gabon, Algeria, Cameroon, Egypt, Ghana, Guinea-Bissau, Mali, Morocco, Senegal, Zimbabwe, Tunisia, Togo, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ivory Coast, Uganda and Burkina Faso.

The drivers of the team buses were trained by MAN ProfiDrive over five days so they would be ready to take the wheel of the MAN Lion’s Coach.
The climate and road conditions in Gabon represent particular challenges for the MAN team buses.