South Africa confident of Club World Cup bid despite COVID-19 woes

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South Africa’s FA (Safa) is confident the country can sufficiently suppress its number of Covid-19 infections in time to host Fifa’s Club World Cup later this year.

South Africa has expressed a keen interest in staging the club tournament, after Japan withdrew as hosts last week citing concerns over coronavirus.

The Club World Cup features six continental club champions and the host nation’s league champion.

On Wednesday, Safa president Danny Jordaan is to meet Fifa president Gianni Infantino to discuss the possibility of South Africa hosting the December event.

Jordaan is travelling to Nigeria where he will meet not only Infantino and Fifa Secretary General Fatma Samoura, but also his compatriot Patrice Motsepe – the president of the Confederation of African Football (Caf).

“Everything will be under control by December – things are looking very positive,” Safa Communications Director Dominic Chimhavi told BBC Sport Africa.

“If you go through our numbers, they are really declining. Most of the variants are on a massive decline and we are on a massive vaccination drive.”

South Africa’s Covid cases 

Over 80,000 people have died with Covid in South Africa, more than any other African country, but after a mid-year surge, September has seen a fall in infections.

There were 4,000 new cases on Sunday as opposed to 20,000 a day a few months ago.

A little over 10 million have been inoculated and the South African government, which eased restrictions on Sunday, says this needs to reach 40 million for population immunity.

While this campaign increases, Safa has moved swiftly as it explores the possibility of hosting the Club World Cup.

“It has reached an advance stage in the sense that the Safa president is going to meet with Infantino, Samoura and Motsepe to present the sensibility of South Africa hosting this historic event,” said Chimhavi.

Should South Africa succeed in its bid, the country’s representative would be reigning league champions Mamelodi Sundowns, the club formerly owned by Motsepe until he assumed the Caf presidency earlier this year.

 

 

 

BBC/Emmanuel Ukoh

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