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Date: 23 April 2019

  South African - Soccer

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SA: From World Cup benchmark to 2015 AFCON bid

[Posted 30 Sep 2010]
[By Brighton Mupangavanhu]
Soccer City (FNB) Stadium, venue of the 2010 World Cup final

Fresh from hosting a bench-mark setting World Cup between June 11 and July 11 this year, South Africa has sought to extract more value from her many world-class stadiums by spelling out clear intentions to bid for the 2015 African Cup of Nations finals.

The South African Football Association (SAFA) recently announced its intentions to place a bid to host the 2015 AFCON on decision-makers' table.

"The decision to bid was taken last week on Thursday,"  Morio Sanyane of SAFA told South African media recently.

The SAFA president Kirsten Nematandeni added that his association has already indicated a desire to bid for 2015 to the Confederation of African Football (CAF).

"We have put in a request to the Confederation of African Football.

"We are still (enjoying) the success of the World Cup and we hope it will be good for us in our bid to host the Nations Cup," Nematandani added.

If South Africa succeeds to win the rights to host the 2015 Nations Cup finals, it will only be the second time the country has hosted the continental football showpiece. Just two years after the 1994 land-mark multi-party elections, the nation hosted the event, winning it in 1996.

The decision to bid for 2015 comes hard on the heels of a glowing FIFA report on South Africa's hosting of the recent World Cup, the first ever such event on African soil.

According to a FIFA statement released last Thursday, the World Cup was a great success and set a new benchmark for future soccer world cups.

"Hosting the event in South Africa proved to be a huge success," FIFA General Secretary Jerome Valcke said on Thursday last week.

"I think that we can say that South Africa brought a new benchmark in terms of the World Cup. That's what we will have to achieve with 2014 and the World Cup in Brazil, " Valcke added.

The FIFA secretary wants the new bench-mark around safety and no major hiccups to be emulated by the future hosts of world cup events, beginning with the 2014 finals in Brazil.

"During the 31 days [of the World Cup] there was not a single day when we had a big problem, where we had a crisis.

"For Fifa it was a unique experience and we will use this experience for 2014 and all the World Cups we have in the future," Valcke said.

Towards the build-up to the World Cup in South Africa, European and other world media channels were awash with concerns around safety of the South African environment. 

2010 World Cup Local Organising Committee CEO Dr. Danny Jordaan also hailed the event as having taken the monkey off South Africa's back. The country struggled to shrug off its negative reputation of violent crime. 

"At the end I think the police walked away with great credit for the efficient and safe environment that they created.

"The police took off this monkey that we had on our back about (how) this country is not safe," Jordaan told BBC Sport.

Debates have been raging in South Africa about the benefits of all the world class stadiums that the country built for the 2010 event. Concerns were raised that the facilities may end up becoming white elephants, without bringing much value to the country and its citizens. 

SAFA appears to have been partly influenced by such concerns in its decision to bid for the 2015 AFCON finals.

It is without doubt that the world cup and all the infrastructural developments it has ushered in, has boosted South Africa's sporting profile.

Unless CAF decides that time has come to offer the hosting of the afcon finals to another region after Angola hosted the 2010 event, no other African nation can compete with South Africa in terms of the efficacy of facilities required for hosting a major football event.

A counter argument to the rotation debate is that in the recent past, CAF has allowed North Africa to host the afcon finals twice within two years. In 2004, Tunisia hosted the afcon finals, while Egypt won rights to host the finals in 2006.

By 2012,West Africa would have had an opportunity to host the finals twice within a space of four years. Ghana hosted the event in 2008, and Equatorial Guniea/Gabon will host the 2012 edition.

The argument that South Africa can not host the afcon finals only 5 years after Angola would have hosted the event in Southern Africa will be devoid of reason and substance. CAF will therefore be expected to give South Africa a fair chance to host the 2015 afcon finals.

South Africa faces competition from Morocco who have already indicated their interest in hosting the afcon 2015 finals. So determined are the Moroccans that they have already planned to bid for 2017 should they fail in their 2015 attempt.


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