Venue uncertainty for Bafana Bafana vs Morocco

Venue uncertainty for Bafana Bafana vs Morocco

With less than a month before Bafana Bafana’s eagerly-awaited 2023 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) qualifier against 2022 World Cup semi-finalists Morocco in June, there is still uncertainty over the venue of the match.

This is despite the widely reported date of 17 June at the FNB Stadium in Johannesburg.

SABC Sport has learnt the South African Football Association (SAFA) has not yet confirmed the venue for this match. It is alleged SAFA still owes Stadium Management South Africa (SMSA) about R1.4 million and until this amount is settled, the two parties cannot enter into an agreement.

Both Bafana and the Atlas Lions have qualified for the 2023 AFCON tournament in Ivory Coast, which starts on 13 January 2024.

SABC Sport understands SAFA submitted June 17 at 18h00 at the FNB Stadium as the official date for the match to the Confederation of African Football (CAF) when the deadline for confirmation of dates was April 25.

The FNB Stadium is one of the seven venues in the country approved by CAF to host AFCON matches as they meet the minimum requirements to host international matches in the next international week. The other venues include all the 2010 World Cup stadiums: Mbombela Stadium (Mpumalanga), Royal Bafokeng Stadium (North West), Moses Mabida Stadium (KwaZulu-Natal), Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium (Eastern Cape), Cape Town Stadium (Western Cape) and Orlando Stadium (Gauteng).
It is believed SAFA wanted to publicly announce the details of the Morocco match before the development of the outstanding funds became known. A match against the red-hot Moroccans, who have just beaten record five-time world champions Brazil in an international friendly, would be a money spinner and could be a sell-out if marketed properly.
SMSA also hosts matches of Namibia and Lesotho, as their home venues are currently not up to the standards of CAF.
SAFA had not responded to enquiries concerning the game's details and the most recent developments at the time of publication.
The other two cities alleged to have indicated an interest in this game were Cape Town and Durban.