By: Nthambeleni Gabara
Pretoria: South Africa has once again proved to the world it is a destination of choice for major sporting events after hosting a successful Africa Nations Cup (Afcon), says South African Football Association (Safa) President, Kirsten Nematandani.
The three-week long continental showpiece ended on Sunday with a thriller final match between two West African nations, Burkina Faso and Nigeria. The Super Eagles beat the Burkinabe 1-nil to win the coveted trophy.
“This recently ended Afcon tournament was a resounding success and another reason South Africa is a destination of choice for major sporting events.
“In terms of the size and behaviour of the crowds, standard of play, organisation and general atmosphere, the tournament has set a benchmark for future Afcon tournaments.
“The atmosphere at the final was electric and being beamed across the globe, again demonstrated South Africa’s ability to host major tournaments,” he said.
Nematandani also acknowledged the important contribution made by President Jacob Zuma and Sport Minister Fikile Mbalula for giving the tournament their unqualified support.
“We also want to extend our special thanks to the chief executive officer of the Afcon LOC, Mvuzo Mbebe, and his team,” said Nematandani, who added that despite Bafana being knocked out in the quarter finals, South Africans continued to support the tournament.
“As a nation, we did a great job in creating a hosting environment that made all of Africa feel welcome and I am now looking forward to doing it all again in 2014 when we host the African Nation Championships (CHAN) tournament, ” he said.
As the Super Eagles of Nigeria have won their third continental crown, they will represent the African continent in this June’s FIFA Confederations Cup in Brazil.