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Safa acting CEO Russell Paul blames South Africa's Afcon 2019 loss to 'the politics of football'

8:10 PM GMT+4 08/01/2019
Russell Paul, Safa CEO
Egypt were confirmed as the new hosts for the 2019 Afcon after Cameroon was stripped of the rights due to significant delays in their preparations

The South African Football Association (Safa) acting CEO Russell Paul doesn't believe that Egypt had prepared a better bid than that of South Africa for the hosting rights of the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations tournament. 

On Tuesday, the Confederation of African Football (Caf) announced that the continental showpiece will be staged in Egypt between June and July this year. 

According to Paul, when Fifa did a World Cup analysis, South Africa came first and Egypt last, and he still feels nothing has changed since then.  

“Fifa did a World Cup analysis, South Africa was number one and Egypt was last. Fundamentally, nothing has changed. We’re disappointed, but we’re saying life goes on,” Paul told EWN

Paul suggested that Egypt were awarded the rights to host this year's tournament because of the 'politics of football' and not the facilities and infrastructure which they have to stage a 24-team tournament. 

The same sentiment was shared by Danny Jordaan in his interview with the City Press as reports emerged that South Africa were not going to be given the chance to host their second Afcon tournament in six years.  

“In the politics of football, anything is possible,” he said. 

Hosting a successful Afcon tournament would have cost South Africa at least R120 million which they were hoping to get from the government. 

However, the SA government waited for Caf to furnish them with details of what the financial implications were going to be prior to Safa submitting their bid on December 14, 2018. 

According to Jordaan, Caf didn't respond to South Africa's request and therefore making it almost impossible for Safa to go head-to-head with the bid submitted by the Egyptian Football Association (EFA) as there were no guarantees that the government would make the funds available.

Egypt won the rights to replace Cameroon as the new hosts by 16 votes to one received by South Africa.