Afcon 2019: politics is SA’s only worry

2019-01-08 10:42

Safa president Danny Jordaan insists politics is the only thing that could potentially sway the vote in Egypt’s favour in the contest to host this year’s CAF Afcon tournament.

The two countries are the only candidates bidding to host the Afcon finals after CAF stripped Cameroon of its hosting rights, citing security concerns and delays in preparations.

“If you compare South Africa with Egypt, we clearly have an advantage because we have the infrastructure, the experience ... just everything in place,” Jordaan told City Press on Friday.

He continued: “The politics is another matter. Arab countries are very entrenched and CAF headquarters are in Cairo.”

CAF will decide on Tuesday which one of the two countries will host the 24-nation tournament, scheduled for June 15 to July 13.

“We have submitted our proposals – they must decide,” said Jordaan about meeting CAF’s December 14 deadline.

Asked if Safa had the backing of government, Jordaan said: “The bidding process was a late thing. We wrote to CAF to say they must give us details of what to expect from the government.

“Normally, the requirement would be infrastructure. There will be no cost incurred for infrastructure.”

Jordaan had not seen any response from CAF at the time of going to print.

Meanwhile, before Parliament went into the festive season recess, the sports department told City Press that Minister Tokozile Xasa was waiting for full details from Safa so that she could present the football body’s proposal to Cabinet.

Xasa said she needed clarity on what kind of bid it would be and if there were financial implications, taking into account the size of the tournament.

When Cameroon was granted the right to host the continental championship, the tournament was a 16-team event. However, CAF later resolved to expand it to 24 teams.

“We hosted 32 teams at the 2010 World Cup,” said Jordaan. “That’s twice the number Egypt hosted the last time around.” This was a reference to the north African country having staged three previous Afcons, with their most recent being the 2006 edition.

Ironically, South Africa has only staged Afcon finals as the alternative host. In 1996, the country replaced Kenya and then stood in for Libya in 2013.

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May 19 2019