SAFA to meet sports minister to finalise bid for African Nations Cup

Minister of Sport and Recreation Tokozile Xasa
Minister of Sport and Recreation Tokozile Xasa
Image: Mahlatse Mphahlele

The South African Football Association's (SAFA) top brass hope to meet Sports Minister Tokozile Xasa within the next two days to be able to finalise a bid to step in as emergency hosts of next year's African Nations Cup.

SAFA have until midnight on Friday to confirm their intention to host the tournament but still need government backing if they are to go ahead with the process.

A host country is being sought to replace Cameroon who were stripped of the right to host next year’s finals by CAF at the end of last month.

Xasa said last Friday that government would be keen but has yet to meet with SAFA.

“We have asked for a meeting to appraise her of the whole process‚” said SAFA’s acting chief executive officer Russell Paul on Monday.

It will be a tight timeline for SAFA to persuade government to foot the bill for the tournament.

CAF insist almost all costs for the running of the Nations Cup be picked up by the host country‚ from the champagne-style catering for its executive committee members in the VIP box at matches‚ to team transportation and accommodation.

Xasa did display a misunderstanding of the process when she added last Friday: “I was very clear to them [SAFA] that if they [CAF] want us to host‚ it must be an offer.

"It must not be like we are bidding because with bidding there are costs and all of that.

“It must be very clear that South Africa is not offering to bid for this tournament.

"We do have the stadium infrastructure‚ which will cut costs hosting the tournament‚ and hotels that are ready."

There are no costs for this bidding‚ save for potential courier costs or faxes.

CAF want documentation to be filled in by Thursday midnight and will make a decision when their executive committee meeting on December 26 in Cairo.

Morocco are runaway favourites to get the nod from CAF in what many see as a pre-ordained decision.

At the weekend‚ both Congo and Gabon officially rejected rumours that they were also interested in hosting next June’s event.

Gabon were the last hosts of the Nations Cup in January 2017.

- TimesLIVE