JOHANNESBURG – Local Organising Committee CEO, Mvuzo Mbebe, defended the decision to leave out Cape Town as one of the five host cities for the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations, arguing it was not a blunder on their part.
Durban, Johannesburg, Port Elizabeth, Rustenburg and Nelspruit were announced on Friday as the five host cities for next year’s tournament after several delays due to financial implication concerns.
Cape Town, along with Kimberley, Polokwane and Bloemfontein, got the nod for the 2014 African Nations Championship that features only locally-based players.
The Mother City had been among the most vociferous in raising concerns over the financial implications of hosting the event which they believed were too much on the city without any guarantees or support from Government.
Mbebe revealed that the criteria for selecting the cities included finding out plans from the cities on how they intended to fill up the stadiums, whether they could afford hosting the event, the legacy benefits and accessibility to the stadium and hotels.
Mbebe said Durban had scored the highest among the eight cities bidding for the tournament, followed by Port Elizabeth, Rustenburg, Nelspruit, Johannesburg, Cape Town and Bloemfontein with Polokwane receiving the least points.
“It was not a blunder (to leave out Cape Town),” Mbebe said yesterday during the assignment agreement signing handed by Safa to the LOC.
“The decision was based on the scores that they received from the evaluation committee. It would have been unfair on us to pre-select Cape Town ahead of any other city. This decision came from a fair and equitable process.
“We could not tamper with the outcome because it created a good balance between inland and coastal, small and big cities.”
Mbebe also refuted claims that he didn’t get back to the city after they had raised their issues, showing several e-mails he exchanged with people involved in Cape Town’s bid and their responses between March 23 and April 13.
The decision to have five cities hosting the tournament looks set to clash with an earlier promise that each city would host four of the 16 teams during the group stages.
“We have not made a decision on the number of games that Johannesburg will host, contrary to reports that they will host two,” Mbebe said.
“The hosting of the opening and closing ceremony in Johannesburg was a request from Caf.
“I can’t say whether they will host more or not.
“We will announce at a later stage who will host what when. We will look at the permutations of the four groups and the knockout stages to see what works and what doesn’t.”
Meanwhile, Safa president Kirsten Nematandani cleared reports of being “overthrown” as the LOC chairman in favour of his deputy Chief Mwelo Nonkonyane.
Nematandani said the decision came because he couldn’t be the “player and referee” with the LOC reporting back to him.
Nonkonyane has assumed the position in the interim until the board announces a full time chair, “no later than this month”.?