Rabat – Confederation of African Football (CAF) President Ahmad Ahmad has pledged to use his influence to convince South Africa to vote for Morocco 2026, after the country announced it could not in a cynical about-face.
After promising on April 16 to support Morocco’s bid to host the 2026 World Cup, South Africa announced it would not support Morocco earlier this month, shortly after US President Donald Trump threatened countries to support the North American bid, United 2026.
The CAF president planned to express his anger against South Africa for denying Morocco its support.
According to Reuters, CAF officials want to persuade South Africa, the first and only African country to host a World Cup, to back the Moroccan bid. CAF’s meeting with South Africa’s Football Association (SAFA) officials was to take place on Wednesday in Johannesburg, but no updates about the meeting have been published so far.
The CAF president has shown unwavering support for the Moroccan bid since its official announcement to compete to host the World Cup back in August 2017. CAF’s first vice president, Kwesi Nyantakyi, echoed his colleague’s statement, emphasizing that Morocco has honored Africa throughout the month-long African Nations Championship (CHAN), which Morocco hosted earlier this year.
CAF’s mission to convince South Africa to back the Moroccan bid will not be as easy as people may believe. South Africa is taking a strong stance against the Moroccan bid, as seen in South Africa’s Minister of Sports Tokozile Xasa’s statements.
“We are very clear that we cannot support Morocco,” she said.
The country’s parliament “was very straightforward in this regard, it is the mandate of the country, and it is an obligation for sporting bodies to understand what the country’s agenda is.”
In response, CEO of the Moroccan bid Hicham El Amrani told the BBC last week that no one is “forced” to back the Moroccan bid “if he believes that it doesn’t serve the country or the country’s football interest.”
“Even if Africa has always acted in unity, unity does not mean 100% of all the member associations, this is part of the democratic process,” he added.
Meanwhile, the countdown for FIFA’s task force’s outcomes, which will decide whether Morocco’s bid meets the criteria to host the World Cup, begins. FIFA’s inspection committee, which visited Morocco in April, are expected to announce the results on May 29.
The assessment will decide whether Morocco’s bid will continue its race until the big day, when 211 football federations will cast their vote for their favorite bid on June 13, in Moscow.