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Thursday, 28 February, 2002, 12:49 GMT
SA withdraw CAN bid
Safa's CEO, Danny Jordaan
South Africa want to host the 2003 Confederations Cup
By BBC Sport Online's Mohammed Allie in Cape Town

The South African Football Association (Safa) have withdrawn their bid to host the 2006 African Cup of Nations.

Safa's Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Danny Jordaan, described the shelving of their bid as "a strategic withdrawal."

Jordaan told a local weekly newspaper that the decision was taken in an effort to enhance South Africa's bid to host the 2010 World Cup.

Following South Africa's withdrawal, Gabon, Algeria and Egypt are still in the race to host the most significant Nations Cup to date.

Semi-finalists

For the first time in Nations Cup history, the four semi-finalists and the fifth placed team at the 2006 tournament will automatically qualify for the World Cup finals in Germany.

Safa officials have revealed they are wary of the possibility of Egypt and Morocco launching a joint bid to host the 2010 World Cup.

In an effort to sway the opinions of influential countries and figures within Fifa, Safa will bid to host next year's Confederations Cup.

It is Safa's view that a successful hosting of that competition would prove that South Africa has the infrastructure to host the World Cup.

Withdrawal from the race for the 2006 Nations Cup is seen as a ploy to avoid the alienation of potential African support for its 2010 World Cup bid.

However, Safa's Deputy CEO, Albert Mokoena, confirmed that Safa would bid to host the Nations Cup in 2008.

This could be seen as a trial run for the World Cup, which would follow two years later.

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