Johannesburg – South African football enthusiasts are excited about another hosting right to stage the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations after a successful hosting of THE 2010 FIFA World Cup.
The Confederation of African Football (CAF) on Wednesday at an Executive Committee meeting in Cairo ratified a swap arrangement between South Africa and Libya for the hosting of the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations.
Libya was to stage the event but the ongoing civil strife in the country compelled the Maghreb nation to agree a swap deal with the South Africans who were to host the 2017 edition.
Although Nigeria and Algeria indicated interest in the 2013 edition, but the CAF Executive Committee meeting in Cairo awarded it to South Africa.
Nigeria had been banking on an agreement with CAF to be on stand-by, in case any of the host nations for the 2012 and 2013 – Gabon/ Equatorial Guinea and Libya respectively, opted out.
South Africa Football Association (SAFA), led by its Vice-President Danny Jordaan, used the success recorded at the 2010 FIFA World Cup to convince CAF executive members of their readiness to host a successful Nations Cup in 2013.
Some of South African fans expressed excitement at the opportunity to watch Africa’s best players during the tournament.
Gerhard Hugo, an Assistant Director, Department of Government Communication and Information System, said South Africa would use the opportunity to showcase the country’s tourism potential.
“We are always happy to host the world at any given opportunity; we used the 2010 FIFA World Cup to tell the world our story. This year the World Conference on Climate Change will take place in Durban.
“In 2013, the Africa Cup of Nations is coming back to South Africa, having hosted it in 1996, we are happy to host again,’’ Hugo said.
Jordaan said with the hosting of 2013 tournament, South Africa would not have to play in the qualifying matches.
“Now that we are hosting the 2013 edition of Nations’ Cup, we don’t have to worry about qualifying as that will give us enough time to prepare for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil,’’ he said.
Lucas Radebe, a former captain of the Bafana Bafana, said he was optimistic that the country would repeat the 1996 performance.
“I must tell you, I am really excited that we are hosting the Nations’ Cup again; looking back in 1996, we the Bafana Bafana won the cup for the first time, I am already dreaming of a repeat performance,’’ Radebe said.
A sports journalist, Mphaki Moses, echoed similar views.
“You know Bafana Bafana are not sure of playing in the 2012 edition. They are currently second behind Niger in the group.
“But with us hosting in 2013, we are sure of having a place. Whatever the outcome of 2012 qualifiers, we know 2013 is our show,’’ he said.
He said all the facilities used for the 2010 FIFA World Cup were still well maintained.
“Facilities are not the problem here. All the stadiums used for the 2012 FIFA World Cup are still in good shape and most of the personnel that organised the World Cup are still around and so it is going be one of the best ever,’’ Moses said.
A bank official, Bernard Nirappil, said the hosting of big events usually brought about business opportunities.
“Hosting of big events like football championships bring about business opportunities to South Africa. We always want visitors in our country to showcase our enormous tourism potential.
“This is another opportunity for us. We are happy to host Africa’s best, come 2013,’’ Nirappil said. (NAN)