Legendary Bafana Bafana goalkeeper Andre Arendse believes South Africans must be disappointed after the country lost its bid to host the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) finals.
On Tuesday, the Confederation of African Football (Caf) revealed that Egypt had won the bid to host the continental tournament which will be held between June and August.
“Yes, we must be disappointed. I understand that the bidding process was between two top countries. These are two organised countries when it comes to football and it was very close,” Arendse told Goal.
“It was all about the voting powers to decide, but we must be disappointed. However, I believe Egypt can host a great tournament,” he added.
This year’s edition will be the first where it will be contested by 24 teams.
“Look, it is disappointing for us because we have successfully hosted world events before and I believe we are always ready to deliver top,” he explained.
“It’s always a nice thing to be a host nation for any sporting event and based on our history to stage big events, it would have been wonderful to host the Afcon finals again,” added the SuperSport United goalkeeper coach.
“It is disappointing to lose, but we can say that it will be equally and confidently hosted in Egypt with success,” he backed.
With the South Africans having hosted the Caf Afcon tournament in 2013 as well as the African Championship (Chan) tournaments in 2014, the 1996 African champion reckons the North Africans must also get their opportunity to host.
“Yeah, it’s been a while for the North Africans I agree. I couldn’t even tell you when was the last time they hosted and one of the good things about the North African perspective is that not only the players will enjoy the tournament,” he argued.
“But the key component is that you are a stone’s throw away from Europe. I mean the scouts will travel easily to watch the tournament, watch African players and probably sign them,” he reacted.
“It is easier to travel from Europe to Egypt and it is not a bad decision to give it to Egypt after all,” Arendse explained.
Speaking about the Libyans whom Bafana must defeat in March in order to secure their ticket to the 2019 Afcon finals, the former Cape Town Spurs keeper stated that South Africa coach Stuart Baxter must select players with a strong mentality.
“I know that Stuart is already engaging local coaches when it comes to playing in Caf tournaments and he is already talking to Mamelodi Sundowns because they just played a club from Libya,” he continued.
“He doesn’t meet the coaches to talk about players alone, but to get more on conditions, the travelling and because a club like Sundowns can share more information on many factors relating to playing away,” responded the legend.
“Mentality will be the word when he sits down to select players for the match. I know when we sit down to select players, we talk about the best players available and who have a strong mentality above talent,” he revealed.“That is what Bafana will need when facing Libya and make sure they get a positive result. There is no doubt that we have the best players with sheer passion and talent,” he concluded