Nations cup 2010 likely in Southern Africa

However, the COSAFA football federations will have to contest with the Super Eagles, Nigeria’s football governing body who together with Morocco are the real obstacle to the five Southern African countries contesting to host the continental soccer showpiece prior to South Africa’s world cup reception. The five were all set to hand in their composite submissions for hosting the AFCON 2010 at the time of going to the press. Morocco announced its interests of hosting the showpiece last year, while Nigeria looks set to use the hosting of 2010 Nations Cup as a stepping-stone for hosting the 2014 Commonwealth Games. Nigeria has twice successfully hosted the Nations Cup, first in 1980 where they lifted the cup and then in 2000 when they co-hosted with Ghana. Theirs is a serious challenge to the Cosafa states as CAF might give first preference to countries that will single-handedly host the tournament when they meet next year. President Olusegun Obasanjo has inaugurated a 14-member committee to develop the Commonwealth Games bid, which Africa’s most populous country hopes to stage in its centenary year. “The 2010 bid has received the President’s blessing as well”, said Charles Chikezie, Nigeria’s Sports Ministry press attach’. Nigeria thus counts on using the 2010 finals as a platform for 2014 Games as “all the facilities we will be using will serve the same purpose for the Nations Cup”, something which the CAF Organising Committee can buy. More than 38Billion Naira has been already been budgeted for both projects. Morocco, the only team to miss out next year’s World Cup despite not having lost a single match is lining up in the 2010 bid, although another first preference might go to the southern hemisphere since the competition was last staged in the region in 1996 South Africa. From there it has been West, Central and Arab Africa which makes Southern Africa the apple of CAF’s eye when the bids close on October 31.Morocco played host to the Nations Cup in 1988.None of the contesting five SADC states has staged the show in its 24 year history. “Since the world’s attention will be on Southern Africa in 2010, there couldn’t be a better opportunity for us to bid”, Zambian Football Association (Faz) spokesperson Mwanza Mbulakulima declared. Mozambique’s Football Federation Secretary General last week told President Armando Guebuza that what his federation “intends is more than the African Cup Of Nations, we want to try to create centres for our football as well as social and development centres for our communities”, Manuel Monteiro said. Mozambique has since received the President’s blessing with the provision for a whopping US$50 000, 000. Such a scenario complicates the Southern African bid as an economically vibrant Botswana and Zimbabwe are also in the running. Zimbabwe Football Association (ZIFA) are said to be frantically trying to persuade their neighbours across the Beira corridor to drop the bid or opt for a joint bid. Mozambique last built a stadium 40 years ago, The Mashaba Stadium which has been turned into a national stadium though they plan to built a 40 000 seater in Maputo as well as 20 000 seater in each of the three big cities which include Nampula and Manica.While Zimbabwe and Zambia boast of more competitive leagues in the region. Senegal like Namibia, also made a late surprise move during the week, when their Sports Minister El Hadj Danda Faye announced the 2002 World Cup debutants’ desire to contest the Southern African countries with interest in hosting the 16 nation tournament. However, the West African country pose no major offensive as they have once hosted the event in 1992.It will thus be to the Southern African region to choose a suitable “neutral” candidate before the CAF executive this weekend. Namibia had been mum upon revealing its interest to hosting the showpiece, although a 15 page Bid Proposal had been drafted months ago. The bid had been scheduled to be tabled for government consideration a fortnight ago. The Namibian dossier approximated a R500 000, to fund the bid proposal. “Hosting the AFCON, the same year as South Africa’s 2010 FIFA World Cup tournament, would reinforce the region’s international football presence”, read the Namibian Football Association (NFA) document. The NFA hopes to promote the event as a “regional initiative. None of the five regional countries has raised any talk of co-hosting the tournament. This puts the CAF organising Committee in a difficult position, as all the five stand a chance of hosting this tournament, besides, Senegal, Nigeria and Morocco. The CAF choice stands to cement the World Cup to the Nations cup competition as done in this year’s qualifiers where both tournaments were vied for, in one season. And Namibia sums it better in its 2010 Bid Proposal, “By hosting the AFCON 2010, the international football focus will be on Namibia during the months of January and February, This creates an additional opportunity for Namibia when the memory of us hosting the AFCON 2010, will resurface during the World Cup months with supporters and tourists alike visiting the country.”

March 2006
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