The Confederation of African Football (CAF) has thanked the South African Football Association (SAFA) for hosting the Under-20 African Youth Championships that took place in the country in April.
Speaking on behalf of the continental confederation, CAF Executive Committee member Almamy Kabélé Camara said Safa’s gesture showed South Africa was prepared to take leadership for the good of the continent. Camara is a member of the new CAF executive committee and president of Guinea Football Federation.
Safa spent millions of rand by hosting the African Youth Championship after it was no longer possible to hold it in Libya due to the ongoing political unrest. Nigeria won the championships after beating Cameroon 3-2.
“On behalf of the President of the Confederation of African Football (CAF) Issa Hayatou, and the entire Executive Committee, I would like to express our sincere gratitude and our acknowledgement to the South African Football Association for having permitted the youth of the continent to meet in South Africa for the final phase of this competition. Our thanks also go to the Kirsten Nematandani administration and the political authorities of South Africa, under the astute leadership of the President of the Republic, Mr Jacob Zuma, for the honour given to CAF by organizing this competition in place of Libya, which had earlier been chosen to host the tournament,” said Camara.
Caf said since hosting the first World Cup to be held on the African continent, Safa had proved they want to take a lead in taking African soccer to the next level.
Safa President, Kirsten Nematandani said he was humbled by the praise heaped on him and the Association by the continental body.
“Hosting this competition meant a lot to us. It meant taking the legacy of 2010 FIFA World Cup forward, especially the way we managed to host such an event successfully in a short period of time. On behalf of Safa, I am very grateful that CAF recognises some good work we have been doing in organising big events. What makes me satisfied is the fact that one day these young stars will come back here to relive this part of history. It was an honour and a privilege to be afforded the opportunity to host such a prestigious tournament,” said Nematandani.-SAFA