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    South Africa-Morocco-World Cup

    South Africa snubs Morocco’s World Cup bid

    APA-Pretoria (South Africa)

    The South African government will not support Morocco's bid to host the 2026 Fifa World Cup, Sports and Recreation Minister Tokozile Xasa said on Tuesday.

    Pretoria and Rabat have had strained relations since Morocco withdrew its ambassador from Pretoria in 2004 when South Africa recognised the independence of the Saharawi Arab Democratic Republic‚ also known as the Western Sahara.

    Rabat occupied Western Sahara in 1975 immediately after colonial Spain withdrew from the disputed area, with Morocco claiming it was part of its territory.

    “We are very clear that we can’t support Morocco‚” Xasa said, in apparent reaction to recent reports that quoted South African Football Association (Safa) head Danny Jordaan as saying he would back the Moroccan bid which is competing against that of the United States, Canada and Mexico.

    US President Donald Trump has on more than one occasion said that countries which received his country’s aid were expected to back the tri-nation bid for the 2026 FIFA World Cup.

    However, Xasa reminded Jordaan, who led the country’s own winning bid for the 2010 FIFA World Cup, about her country’s leaning in the exercise.

    “Our parliament was very straight forward in this regard. It is the mandate of the country and it is an obligation for sporting bodies to understand what the country’s agenda is‚" Xasa said.

    She added: "You cannot just support a country that goes against the mandate of your country because you have experience in Fifa matters.

    “South Africa has hosted many big events in the past. We are recognised throughout the world. Our teams are doing very well. But there is so much competition to host these kinds of games even in Africa.

    "That’s why you can hear Danny Jordaan saying 'I am going to assist Morocco in their bid to host the World Cup'.”

    Last month‚ a Moroccan delegation comprising celebrated former Senegal and Liverpool striker El Hadji Diouf and former Cameroonian goalkeeper Joseph-Antoine Bell visited Safa’s head office to lobby for support for the 2026 bid.

    Safa has since back-tracked on Jordaan’s comments and they have indicated that a decision on which bid to support between Morocco and the USA would be taken by their National Executive Committee of Safa whenever it meets.

    “We have received the presentation from the USA bid during the Confederation of Southern Africa Football Associations’ (Cosafa) congress in Johannesburg which was presented by the US bid delegation led by their president Sunil Gulati.

    "Safa also received a presentation on the Morocco bid by the bid ambassadors Joseph-Antoine Bell of Cameroon and former Senegal international El Hadji Diouf.

    "It was made clear to both delegations that these presentations would be taken to Safa NEC who will give the mandate to the delegates going to the Fifa Congress in Moscow in June on which bid to support‚” Safa said in a statement.

    “Safa wants to reiterate that no decision has been taken at this stage on the matter on who to support.

    "We hope that this clarifies Safa’ position going forward. No press conferences were held after both presentations.

    “Neither Safa nor the president of the association has spoken directly on the matter on who to support and the matter remains undecided” till Safa’s NEC meeting, the statement said.


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