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Safa says 'no hard feelings’ after SA’s failed bid to host 2019 Afcon

The Confederation of African Football has on Tuesday announced Egypt as Afcon hosts following an executive committee meeting in Dakar, Senegal.

Safa acting CEO Russell Paul. Picture: Safa

CAPE TOWN - The South African Football Association (Safa) acting CEO, Russell Paul, says he does not believe Egypt’s bid to host the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) was better than South Africa’s.

The Confederation of African Football (CAF) has on Tuesday announced Egypt as Afcon hosts following an executive committee meeting in Dakar, Senegal.

South Africa and Egypt were the only bidding nations after Cameroon was dumped due to delays in preparations.

Paul suggests Egypt did not win the bid based purely on considerations around facilities and infrastructure: “Fifa did a World Cup analysis, South Africa was number one and Egypt was last. Fundamentally, nothing has changed.”

However, Paul and Safa have no hard feelings: “We’re disappointed, but we’re saying life goes on.”

From the outset, the north African bid was favoured by African footballs governing body, with Egypt winning in a landslide 16 to one, with one abstention: “In the politics of football, anything is possible.”

It’s understood South Africa’s strained diplomatic relations with Morocco and its failure to vote for the north African nation in 2018’s world cup vote does not sit well with CAF and could’ve played a role.

The decision has also fuelled rumours of a rivalry between incumbent CAF president Ahmad Ahmad and Safa president Danny Jordaan.

However, the Safa acting CEO would not be drawn on these as factors influencing today’s vote.

But being denied hosting rights might be blessing in disguise for the cash-strapped Safa, which lost R18 million in the last financial year and would have required at least R120 million to pull off the event.

(Edited by Zamangwane Shange)

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