Cabinet confirms AFCON hosts
Pretoria - The Africa Cup of Nations champions
next year will be crowned in the same calabash-inspired Johannesburg
stadium as the 2010 World Cup winners, sport minister Fikile Mbalula
said on Friday.
"We will host the opening and closing ceremonies in
Johannesburg," said Mbalula, ending long speculation and dilly-dallying
on the announcement of the five host cities.
Other hosts are Rustenburg, Nelspruit, Port Elizabeth and Durban, he said.
absent is Cape Town, whose landmark seafront stadium was built for the
World Cup. The city, one of the few run by the political opposition, had
reportedly balked at the costs associated with hosting the tournament.
But Mbalula said location was the deciding factor.
than using the whole of the republic we have reduced to a total number
of about four, five stadiums so that they are close to each other."
venue for the final was built for the World Cup two years ago with
94 700 seats, and is covered in clay-coloured panels inspired by the
calabash gourd used widely as a pot across Africa.
Spain beat the Netherlands 1-0 in extra time to win the championships.
declined to comment on the budget for the tournament but said South
Africa's government, private companies and the Confederation of African
Football would all contribute.
"On relieving the financial burden
for host cities, there's a joint task team... which will meet with the
host cities individually to allay fears," he said.
tournament should be welcome business for the cities, where the state
spent billions of rands to build new and upgrade old stadiums for a
handful of 2010 games.
Some have failed to attract home sports
teams and even pay for matches featuring top local sides, while
activities like bungee-jumping, religious events and concerts with
artists like Coldplay and U2 help foot some bills.