Cape Town – South Africa missed out on the chance to host their third Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) tournament on Tuesday when the Confederation of African Football (CAF) chose Egypt to host the 2019 edition.
The process to find a successor to the original host Cameroon was undertaken by a voting process with Egypt winning 16 votes to a sole vote for South Africa.
Following CAF’s decision, Lecturer at the Department of Tourism Management in Tshwane University of Technology, Mr Unathi Sonwabile Henama has expressed his candid opinion on whether missing out on hosting the tournament was a good or a bad thing.
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Egypt has been announced as the host of the 2019 AFCON after Cameroon was stripped of the hosting rights. South Africa lost out to Egypt.
The government of Egypt has approved the hosting of the games, whilst SA’s government has not been committed. South Africa would have to provide around R140 million to host the games.
SA’s state finances are dire, broke as the state pays 50 cents in debt for each R1 in the state coffers. Hosting the games would have redirected much needed expenditure on the public in terms of healthcare, education, road and infrastructure.
AFCON is a mega event and history and experience show that mega events hardly produce positive impacts for developing countries. The 2010 FIFA World Cup was funded through long term debt instead of savings and each and every taxpayer will pay for years to come to settle the debt from 2010.
Tourism is always used as a means to motivate for the hosting of mega events, however attracting sports tourists does not supersede the national interests and pressing social needs.
If the state wants to attract more tourists, it must adopt a Whole of Government Approach to Tourism which would result in Visa free travel, open skies, the opening of additional international airports and ensuring that safety and security is improved. Mega events are a drain on the national discus.
SAFA must rather focus on soccer development instead of being an events management company.
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