South Africa look to host CAF competition finals

South Africa is the first country to publicly express interest in hosting one of this season’s African club competition finals.

South Africa’s Football Association acting chief executive Gay Mokoena says they have approached several municipal authorities to see whether they would be interested in hosting either the Champions League final on 29 May or the Confederation Cup final on 24 May.

Mokoena told local reporters that they would put a bid together if one of the country’s cities was interested, although they have only two days left to do so.

Last week, the Confederation of African Football (CAF) opened the bidding process for the two finals. A letter to all national associations said the bidding documents were due by 20 February.

Details must include training facilities to be made available, accommodation plans and a government guarantee.

CAF are expecting the hosts to pick up the costs around the games.

Anaylsis by Mark Gleeson, African football journalist

This is the first time that the two finals would be hosted as a single match after decades of being played home and away over two legs.

It was a surprise decision made by CAF president Ahmad and his executive committee last year without regard to historical precedent, ironically first displayed in Johannesburg just over a quarter-century ago.

CAF hosted both the African Super Cup in 1994 and 1995 on neutral turf but very quickly abandoned the idea after both games were marred by public disinterest.

The 1994 Super Cup pitted Egyptian giants Al Ahly and Zamalek at Soccer City in Johannesburg. It is a fixture that easily fills the 60 000-capacity Cairo International Stadium but there were barely 1 000 supporters at the cavernous South African stadium, leaving Egyptians astonished and aghast.

The next year in Alexandria, when Tunisia’s Esperance beat Daring Club Motema Pembe of the then Zaire, it was again characterised by swath of empty seats.

After this, the Super Cup was always played at the home ground of the winner of the Champions League until last year when it was moved to Qatar.

There is already a long standing apathy towards African club competitions from South African fans, who rarely turn out to watch their local clubs compete in the two annual competitions.

South African stadiums were largely empty, expect when the home team played, when the country hosted both the 1996 and 2013 Africa Cup of Nations finals.