South Africa is the favourite to host next year’s African Cup of Nations (Afcon), which would see Bafana Bafana qualify for the tournament automatically, something that coach Stuart Baxter believes is both a ‘blessing and a curse’.
Last week Cameroon were stripped of the rights to host the tournament due to inadequate infrastructure. It seems South Africa has become the favourite to step in and host Africa’s showpiece footballing event in 2019.
Reports have surfaced that the Confederation of African Football (Caf) asked the South African Football Association to consider hosting the tournament, and while Safa President Danny Jordaan has indicated an eagerness to step in as hosts, he has admitted that the organisation will need government to assist.
On the football side of things, Bafana Bafana need just one point away against Libya next year to secure their place in the tournament, regardless of who the hosts are. However, by hosting the tournament, Baxter’s men might not have to play that game, which is something he believes could be a curse in the long run.
‘I mean it’s like a blessing and a curse, isn’t it? Let’s put me in the spot as a professional coach,’ Baxter told KickOff.com.
‘I think a game with the knife at the throat against Libya for this group of players, in their development, would be massive.
‘There’s a part of me that wants to play the game anyway, but Afcaon on home soil for these group of players would be massive.
‘Can we get both? I hope so. I hope that no matter what the decision is, we get to play Libya.
‘In terms of me preparing, I have to forget that I’ve heard that and keep on trying to get the players together. We need to keep doing the stuff we are doing to prepare for Libya. In my world, we are playing Libya and that’s it.
‘Obviously the sooner we get an indication the better. If we get that shout early, and we know what it is, then that will be better.’
Photo: Sydney Mahlangu/BackpagePix
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