SWC back in SA in 2026?

2010-06-16 17:07

Johannesburg - African football president Issa Hayatou envisions the Soccer World Cup returning to the continent in 2026, and can find no reason why it shouldn't return to South Africa.

Hayatou said on Wednesday that 2026 was the next time the tournament could return to Africa. He believes comparatively wealthy nations such as Egypt, Morocco, Nigeria and Algeria could match the stadiums, enthusiasm and infrastructure in South Africa.

The CAF president said South Africa had answered any skepticism over its ability to stage the event, and could be a bidder in 2026.

"One of the lessons learned from the World Cup is that Africa affirmed and asserted its position," Hayatou said. "Many didn't think that Africa would make it. I have read over the past three years all the comments that were made about Africa. They said that South Africa didn't have sport infrastructure, not enough hotels, organisation is not good enough.

"But time proved otherwise."

The 63-year-old Cameroonian has long touted Africa as a World Cup host, and said South Africa's achievement in building top stadiums underlined the talent that existed all over the continent.

"People always talked that Africa couldn't do anything," Hayatou said. "We need to erase all these complaints that we have been hearing because many thought that we couldn't make it. Experience has shown and proved that we have done it well, if not better than World Cups in other parts of the world.

"We have many countries in Africa - Egypt, Morocco, Nigeria, Algeria - all these countries are all potentially able to do the same as South Africa did."

Brazil is set to host the 2014 World Cup, and FIFA will decide in December who will stage the competitions in 2018 and 2022.

"As for when, maybe Africa will be another candidate for 2026 again," Hayatou said. "Why not in South Africa once more?"

He pointed out that Japan has bid for the 2022 tournament despite having co-hosted the World Cup in 2002, and the United States is also in the running having staged the event in 1994.

"There's nothing to prevent South Africa (being) the organiser of another World Cup in 2026," Hayatou said.

Hayatou, however, said it is unlikely that Egypt, Morocco, Nigeria or Algeria would ever co-host a World Cup.

"There is a provision that they have to have the same currency and border each other," Hayatou said of FIFA rules on co-hosting. "There are practically no borders between these four countries and Africa has a lot of different currencies."

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