By Nthambeleni Gabara
The South Arica Cabinet has given the nod to South Africa hosting the 2013 African Cup of Nations (AFCON) and the 2014 African Nations Championships (CHAN) and has announced the cities that will host these tournaments.
Speaking at a post-Cabinet briefing on Friday, Sports Minister Fikile Mbalula announced that the opening and closing ceremonies of the 2013 Afcon will be played at Johannesburg’s Soccer City, known as FNB Stadium.
Matches will take place in Port Elizabeth (Nelson Mandela Bay), Rustenburg (Royal Bafokeng), eThekwini (Moses Mabhida Stadium) and Mbombela (Mbombela Stadium).
The minister said the cities of Polokwane, Kimberley, Mangaung and Cape Town will host the 2014 CHAN tournaments.
Government will soon meet with the South African Football Association (Safa) Local Organising Committee (LOC) to finalise among others government representation on the LOC.
Mbalula said that a joint task team was in place, comprising Sport and Recreation, Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs and National Treasury, which will meet with the host cities individually to discuss financial matters.
The 2013 Afcon will begin on 19 January and end on 10 February, with 16 teams set to participate.
South Africa will host the two continental tournaments that were initially scheduled to be played in Libya, but could not be played in that country which is currently ravaged by civil war.
The South African Football Association (Safa) and the Football Federation of Libya signed an agreement regarding the hosting of the 2013 and the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) tournaments.
In terms of the agreement, Libya will host the 2017 Afcon, which had been awarded to South Africa, while Safa will take over the hosting of the 2013 CHAN as well as the 2014 Afcon, which was meant to be played in Libya.
The Official Draw for the AFCON 2013 finals will take place on 26 October.