The Confederation of African Football’s (CAF) decision to take the CAF Champions League final to Morocco took another twist when they confirmed that South Africa was amongst the countries that had submitted the bid to host the final but did not fulfill the host country bidding criteria.
CAF has come under fire this week, following their decision to award the hosting of the final to Morocco, for the second consecutive year and also at a time when a Moroccan team, Wydad Casablanca is in the semi-finals and favourites to make the final.
SAFA Head of Communications Mninawa Ntloko appeared to be contradicting CAF reasons for SA’s bid not being successful.
“We as SAFA had an interest in hosting the men’s CAF Champions league final as well as the women’s championship which is later this year, but after some conversations with CAF they said that I t would be if we just stuck to one preferable the Women’s Championship because we have an interest in that in a form of Mamelodi Sundowns so as the inaugural champions and also with an opportunity to have them defend their title at home, we felt that it would actually be a better option for us in terms of hosting as the results of that we pulled out from hosting Men’s Champion’s league final instead we are focused on the Women’s Champion which is later this year” Ntloko explained.
Handing hosting rights to Morocco came at a critical time, when the newly opened Diamniadio Olympic Stadium in Senegal appeared to be favourites to host this final, however an alleged vote by the CAF Exco which resulted in 16-3 voting outcome in favour of Morocco, played a huge part in this final outcome.
But for Ntloko, hosting the CAF Women’s Champions League was also appealing to them and would be engaging the Ministry of Sport soon.
By not fulfilling the bidding criteria, SA could have also been short of government guarantees, something that is a key requirement when bidding for international events, especially at CAF.
Reigning champions Mamelodi Sundowns Ladies will relish the opportunity to their their title on home soil, and Ntloko says this has got the potential to grow the game further in the country.
“Obviously I mean having all these teams playing on this part of the world at our door step, its an absolute injection to everything else that we as South African football fans would like to see happening here.
“Its massive for Women’s football, we have so many various competition that are taking place at the moment that have actually ensured that we’ve got so much going for us as a country and for our teams and ensuring that we get all of the coverage and the sport light that is required” Ntloko concluded.
By Velile Mnyandu