Windhoek – The recent decision by the South African Football Association (Safa) to accept the Confederation of African Football’s (Caf) request to step in as emergency host of next year’s African Nations Cup is beneficial to Namibia in many ways, local sports pundit Isack Hamata believes.
Caf’s desperate SOS to South Africa came just days after the continental body stripped Cameroon of the hosting rights‚ citing fears over security and delays in preparations for the event as reasons for the decision.
The request was discussed at great length at the Safa AGM in Sandton on Sunday afternoon, and a decision was taken to express interest in taking over the event.
Safa president, Danny Jordaan, said while they are keen to welcome the continent’s best teams to South Africa next year‚ the decision is dependent on the development of a business case, and on getting the SA government’s approval and support.
‘‘The Caf executive said the country that must host 2019 must offer a plug and play option because of the shortness of time; therefore, if you look around here, they can just bring their computers‚ plug them in, and start playing in South Africa. We have ten World Cup stadiums here, and those stadiums have got all the media and broadcast infrastructure. So, there is no question that we have the stadiums: we have the training venues‚ hotels‚ roads and the airports,” Jordaan was quoted by The Sowetan Live.
Jordaan said they would put together a proposal and request a meeting with government in the coming days. The Safa president said, with the exception of a few upgrades and minor adjustments‚ the majority of the costs would be used on the operational side, rather than on infrastructure.
Welcoming the news of South Africa possibly hosting next year’s Afcon, Hamata yesterday said the news comes at a perfect time for both the Brave Warriors and Namibian football lovers, as the tournament will now be closer to home, and much easier for Namibians to flock South Africa and rally behind the national team–should it manage to qualify next March.
“Not only will it be much closer for the supporters to go support the team, but it also makes life much easier for the NFA in terms cutting costs of preparations, organising training camps, and also the atmosphere and culture in South Africa will make it much easier for our boys to compete over the there. But, first things first, we need to firstly ensure that we beat Zambia next year in order to qualify, and then we can start looking at all these scenarios. Let’s first get Zambia out of the way, and everything else will fall into place; but all in all, it is great news to hear that South Africa will possibly host next year’s Afcon, as it plays in our favour,” said veteran sports guru.