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Africa Cup of Nations

David Nyathi on South Africa losing Afcon 2019 to Egypt: 'It is not a blow'

5:30 PM GMT+4 08/01/2019
David Nyathi
Nyathi, who was part of Bafana's 1996 Afcon winning squad, feels South Africa was not ready to host the continental tournament

Former Bafana Bafana  defender David Nyathi says South Africa must not be discouraged by the fact that they lost the rights to host the 2019 Caf African Cup of Nations (Afcon) finals.

The Confederation of African Football (Caf) announced Egypt as the hosts for this year's tournament beating South Africa, who were hoping

“It is not a blow for us because if you look at the country, we are in a deep economic depression at the moment,” Nyathi told Goal.

“The government and state entities are financially struggling and South African Football Association (Safa) also needs to fill its coffers. So, the economic climate is not really looking good for the country,” he added.

“However, I may not know what was there for the government to benefit by hosting the tournament. I think Egypt deserves a chance to host the tournament this year,” explained the former Kaizer Chiefs left back.

Speaking about the fact the host country could get some privilege in terms of automatic qualification, Nyathi stated that Bafana Bafana must qualify on merit.

“No, I don’t think we have to qualify for major tournaments because we have the infrastructure and financial advantage. We also need to fight on the field of play in order to play at these tournaments,” said the legend.

“We must earn the right to play at these tournaments. In my opinion, it becomes unfair to other countries that do everything to qualify,” he reacted.

“If we want to play in the 2019 Afcon finals, we have to show that we have the capacity to qualify, given the decision by Caf, let’s do what is right and fight. I know some people may become skeptical, but the nature of any competition is to earn the right to be there by winning games not because of infrastructure and financial advantage,” said the ex-Orlando Pirates defender.

On the other hand, Nyathi backed Bafana to qualify for 2019 Afcon finals by defeating Libya in their final Group E qualifier in March.

“I am not sure why we lost, but the Safa president (Danny Jordaan) is more privileged to give us more or comment on that one. He knows what is happening in Caf circles,” said the 49-year-old.

“For us we have to beat Libya. We have the capacity and capabilities to get a win in that match. It’s a game we cannot afford to lose, we just need to prepare for that match,” Nyathi told Goal.

“The only way to win it is to start preparing now because we have all the resources to put us in a good shape ahead of the game,” he concluded.