Africa has several countries capable already of hosting the Olympics and Paralympics but is being denied the opportunity because of “prejudice,” it has been claimed by Issa Hayatou, President of the Confederation of African Football (CAF).
The Cameroonian, who is also a member of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), made the claim as the African Cup of Nations came to a successful conclusion in Johannesburg Sunday night when Nigeria beat Burkina Faso 1-0 in the final in Johannesburg.
The tournament follows South Africa’s highly-acclaimed staging of the 2010 FIFA World Cup, the first time the event had been awarded to an African country.
“South Africa can definitely organize the Olympic Games, with its infrastructure, hotels, communications, transport,” Hayatou said in an interview to be broadcast on CNN tomorrow. “I don’t know if there are 10 countries in Europe that can be better than South Africa in that respect.”
Hayatou was accompanied at the final by South African President Jacob Zuma and Sepp Blatter, the President of FIFA and a fellow IOC member, who is regarded highly in Africa after he backed the continent’s hosting of the World Cup.
Cape Town had bid unsuccessfully for the 2004 Olympics, which were awarded to Athens, coming third in the five-city race.
Durban had been widely expected to bid for the 2020 Olympics and Paralympics but were forced to scrap the plans because of lack of support from the Government.
“But there are other countries in Africa that can organize an Olympic Games like Morocco, Egypt, Algeria – I could also include Nigeria,” said Hayatou. “All those countries could organize it, but there’s a prejudice – they say, ‘Oh, it’s Africa, they can’t organize it.’ ”
Contact the writer of this story at email@example.com. Inside the Games is a blog of the London Organizing Committee that helped put on the recent Summer Olympics. This article is reprinted here with permission of the authors of the blog.