By Soccer Laduma
SAFA chief executive officer Russell Paul has suggested that power politics could have influenced the decision to name Egypt as hosts of the Africa Cup of Nations instead of South Africa.
The continent’s mother body, CAF made the announcement yesterday that Egypt would officially step in to replace Cameroon, who were stripped of the rights last month over readiness and security concerns.
Both Egypt and SA had submitted bids as alternative hosts of the tourney scheduled for June 15 to July 13 – and the north Africans received 16 votes to a single one for the rival bidder, with one no-vote.
“I am not qualified to speak about the politics, but we felt the way the entire thing was arranged played a role. The announcement was brought forward by a day and we didn’t even know anything about it. We still don’t know anything officially around it,” Paul told the Siya crew.
“The Egyptians had a full delegation there and we were planning for our delegation to go there (Dakar, Senegal) on the original date that was set. We only heard via the grapevine that the announcement had been moved.”
Paul insisted that SA would have been a better alternative following the stripping of Cameroon as hosts in December.
“Without being arrogant, there is no other country on this continent that can display the facilities, infrastructure and capacity that we have. You can come here and play a game tonight – it’s a plug and play,” he said.