The MAN Lion’s Coach in front of the Stade Omar Bongo in Libreville.    Picture: QUICKPIC
The MAN Lion’s Coach in front of the Stade Omar Bongo in Libreville. Picture: QUICKPIC

This year, players in the Africa Cup of Nations were chauffeured by 16 MAN Lion’s coaches, including the championship winners, Cameroon. The organisation staging the event, the Confédération Africaine de Football (CAF), ordered 16 MAN Lion’s Coaches to ensure the players were as relaxed as possible when they arrived and able to produce their best performances on the pitch.

The professional footballers were chauffeured between the stadia and their team accommodation in the coaches.

Co-operation

"This unique order came about as a result of the close and productive co-operation between the MAN importer in Gabon, SODIM TP and the MAN Centre Importer NWC Africa," says Burak Keskinkilic, head of bus sales at the centre.

The coach has numerous innovative systems to ensure that driving is safe, even in challenging traffic situations. The 12m long coaches are equipped with the EBS electronic brake system, which includes ABS, ASR, ESP (electronic stability programme), cruise control and a speed limiter.

The fire and smoke detection systems in the engine compartment ensures the highest level of safety for passengers.

The green-tinted, double-glazed windows provided quiet and privacy inside the coaches. The air-conditioning system, adapted to local conditions, helped to ensure players’ comfort. The coaches are equipped with a DVD player with two LCD displays, a kitchen, toilet and two refrigerators.

The coaches were powered by 400hp (294kW) diesel engines, which meet the Euro 4 emission standard. The MAN TipMatic gearbox is claimed to reduce fuel consumption while the cockpit features with easy-to-read displays and intuitively arranged controls.

To ensure the drivers were ideally prepared for their work during the tournament, 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.

Practical training

"In addition to theoretical knowledge, there was a particular emphasis on practical training. Each of the 32 drivers who worked 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 and Bus France.

"The drivers were really impressed with how quiet the coach is inside. And they really liked the multifunction steering wheel, which makes driving safer and easier," explains El-Khoury, product and sales engineering manager and ProfiDrive trainer from the Centre Importer NWC Africa.

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