THE CEO of the 2013 African Nations Cup, Mvuso Mbebe, on Monday defended the decision to exclude Cape Town from hosting next year’s event and said it was not a blunder that the city’s iconic World Cup stadium will not be part of the continental showpiece.
Cape Town was ranked at a lowly sixth place after the organising committee decided on the five host venues for the tournament at the weekend, and Durban, Johannesburg, Mbombela (Nelspruit), Rustenburg and Port Elizabeth got the nod.
Durban was given top marks for the best presentation, Nelson Mandela Bay (Port Elizabeth) was rated second, Rustenburg third, Mbombela fourth, Johannesburg fifth, Cape Town sixth, Bloemfontein seventh and Polokwane finished last in eighth place.
Mbebe said Cape Town failed to meet a set of criteria that all the potential host cities had to satisfy and after a selection process monitored by law firm Edward Nathan Sonnenbergs, the Mother City was dumped from the final list of host cities for the tournament. “It was not a blunder (to exclude Cape Town) and it was all according to the set criteria,” he said.
“It was up to Cape Town to come to the panel and make a presentation (that satisfied the panel). And it would have been unfair for us to preselect any host city. We may not have agreed with everything but we always responded to their questions.”
The criteria set by the organising committee required the potential host cities to demonstrate an ability to fill stadiums, especially during soccer matches, and covered costs, legacy benefits, accessibility and infrastructure, among others.
Mbebe said it was important to note that the bidding cities were not required to have signed the host city agreements before they made their presentations.
Cape Town’s mayoral committee member for tourism, events and marketing, Grant Pascoe, said the city was never informed about their ranking during the bid process.
“After stating our concerns we indicated that we could not sign the host city agreement and submitted this as our response,” he said.
“We also indicated that we were keen to negotiate an ideal outcome in which the clauses of concern would be renegotiated. We did not even receive the courtesy of a formal notification that we were no longer being considered as a host city.”
Mbebe said that Cape Town was not victimised because of the Mother City’s constant questioning of the tournament budget and the expected costs of playing host.
Some of the bidders were reportedly not happy that the costs are expected to increase to as much as R80m for each host city.
“Durban was actually more vociferous than all the cities and they emerged with the best ranking,” Mbebe said. “So it certainly had nothing to do with their (Cape Town’s) objections or questions.”
Pascoe said Cape Town wanted to host the event and “the loss, though, is primarily regarded as loss of prestige in hosting the continent’s premier soccer showcase.”
The 2013 African Nations Cup will get under way from January 13 and the final will be played at Soccer City on February 10. The continent’s 16 best teams will take part.
The cities that did not get the nod for the 2013 African Nations Cup will be given first option to host the less glamorous 2014 African Nations Championships, which is more of a development tournament than a high-profile event featuring the continent’s best players. These cities include Cape Town, Kimberley, Mangaung and Polokwane.
But Pascoe said Cape Town was yet to make a decision on the 2014 event. “All event proposals are evaluated on their merits and the city will make its position known once it receives the host city agreement.”
Meanwhile, South African Football Association (Safa) president Kirsten Nematandani has said he is no longer chairman of the tournament organising committee and had vacated the post in favour of his deputy, Mwelo Nonkonyana. The outspoken Nonkonyana will act as interim chairman until a permanent replacement is appointed before the end of the month.
Nematandani said he was dismayed by media reports that he was toppled in a palace coup and that some in Safa were out to get him.
The local organising committee will meet the government today to finalise tournament budget issues and to discuss the appointment of a permanent chairman.
Article source: http://www.businessday.co.za/articles/Content.aspx?id=171193