South African government interested in hosting 2019 Afcon tournament, says Sports Minister Xasa

Egypt are likely to contest for the 2019 Afcon hosting rights against South Africa who were expected to submit their bid later

Department of Sport and Recreation through Minister Thokozile Xasa, has confirmed that the South African government is interested in hosting the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations tournament. 

This comes after Cameroon were stripped off the rights to host the continental showpiece on Friday night. 

According to Caf, the decision was influenced by Cameroon's lack of readiness to host the tournament. 

South Africa as well as Morocco appear to be the frontrunners to step in and replace Cameroon as the hosts. 

Minister Xasa was quoted by Eye Witness News (EWN) as saying that South Africa is ready to take over from Cameroon.

However, Xasa said South Africa would not bid for the hosting rights, adding that they will consider replacing Cameroon should Caf ask them to come to the rescue. 

Caf announced on Friday that there will be a new bidding process which will open until the end of December 2018. 

“We are indeed interested in taking over the hosting of the Afcon next year. We have all the infrastructure and stadiums to host this kind of event like we did in 2010 with the Fifa World Cup,” said Xasa. 

“It’s up to Caf to approach us, but as far as we are concerned, we are ready to take over from Cameroon,” she said. 

“We won’t bid for the hosting rights. Caf must come to us and we will consider hosting but we won’t bid for the rights to host,” concluded the Sports Minister. 

Xasa might not have been aware that Caf had already requested Safa to 'seriously consider' hosting the tournament which will take place in June 2019. 

Safa president Dr Danny Jordaan, who was part of Caf's decision-makers in the Cameroon decision, confirmed on Sunday that the country's FA had already been approached. 

However, Jordaan, together with the entire Safa executive, revealed that a decision will only be made once they have held an official meeting with government. 

According to Safa, the costs of hosting the Afcon tournament are too high - something that they cannot afford at this stage unless the South African government gives them financial assistance. 

An urgent meeting is expected between the SA government and Safa in the next few days to finalise the matter.