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Last Updated: Thursday, 22 April, 2004, 14:10 GMT 15:10 UK
Africa's 2010 contenders
It has been known for two years that the 2010 World Cup will be held in Africa - but in May it will be decided which country will be the hosts.

BBC Sport profiles the five countries in the running - Morocco, South Africa, Egypt, Tunisia and Libya.


Population: 31m

This is the fourth time Morocco has bid to host the World Cup. The country lost out to the United States for the 1994 tournament by just one vote.

Luis Felipe Scolari
Brazil's 2002 World Cup winning coach Luis Felipe Scolari backs Morocco's bid
The country's national team was second in this year's African Cup of Nations.

"Morocco is the land of football," said Lemir Butaleb, a spokesman from the country's bid campaign.

"Morocco has the biggest history and the longest history of football in Africa."

Morocco's campaign is highlighting the country's has a "very good infrastructure". Ms Butaleb says they are already prepared to host the tournament, with three stadiums having been built already and a further three under construction.

And she added that Morocco's "biggest strength" is its proximity to Europe - an advantage the country is playing up against what is seen as its chief competitor, South Africa.

"This is a very important strength, especially for hospitality guests - they can come for or two matches, they don't have to come for a long trip," she said.

There have been fears the bid might be affected due to fears over terrorism, with attacks in Casablanca last year and Moroccans linked to the Madrid train bombing. But the BBC's Durosimi Thomas says security is not overly heavy in the country and this fear is being played down.

But he added that the rest of Africa could fear that should Morocco win the bid, they would celebrate being the first Arab nation, rather than first African one, to host the World Cup.


Population: 44m

South Africa lost the race to host the 2006 tournament to Germany - by a single vote.

But they are favourites this time around, and this is probably their best chance. The country has already hosted world cups in cricket and rugby - two sports in which it excels internationally.

Thabo Mbeki
If the World Cup came here, then the whole of Africa would feel a sense of the cup
South Africa President Thabo Mbeki
But bid co-ordinator Danny Jordaan is cautious.

"In spite of the fact we are favourite, we have to work hard, we must not be complacent," he said.

"We must keep in mind that other countries will also present credible bids... it's something that in the lives of any country you can only dream of."

He pointed out that as well as hosting two "successful and profitable" world cups in other sports, the country also hosted the most successful African Nations Cup, in 1996.

"It's about the creation of a new society, and it's not very often that you find that a nation which had a war - between black and white for over 300 years - has the opportunity to come together... football crossed that divide."

South Africa also needs to build fewer stadiums that its rivals.

But questions continue about the football culture in the country - not so much around whether it can compete with rugby and cricket, but ironically because fans of the national team are so fervent that games not involving Bafana Bafana could end up being played in front of empty stands.


Population: 70m

Egypt was the first African team to compete at the World Cup - in 1934.

Boutros Boutros Ghali
Former UN Secretary-General Boutros Boutros Ghali will present Egypt's bid to Fifa
It is also the only African nation to have hosted a Fifa tournament, the 1999 Under-17 World Championship. They are also set to host the 2006 African Cup of Nations - and so have a number of stadiums already in place.

But this is their first time in attempting to bid for the World Cup.

"Football is life for Egyptians," said Abdi El Moniam al Sarwi, campaign manager.

"Young or old, women or men - no-one in Egypt is not interested in football."

He admitted Morocco and South Africa had an advantage as they had been through the process before - but added that Egypt had been consulting with experts over what to expect in the final stages.

Durosimi Thomas said that the Egyptian bid, being presented by former UN secretary-general Boutros Boutros Ghali, is partly an effort simply to boost the country's own image - but at the same time it lacks charisma.

The country is also marketing its bid heavily in the Arab world - but there are question marks as to how much this message is being heard through the rest of Africa.


Population: 9.7m (Tunisia), 5.5m (Libya)

Both Tunisia and Libya are seen as rank outsiders to be awarded the World Cup.

Tunisia won the African Nations Cup in their own country
The two countries originally proposed a joint bid, but Fifa president Sepp Blatter has said this would not be accepted.

Now they are struggling to stand out on their own.

Tunisia were the hosts - and winners - of this year's African Cup of Nations.

Karen Captani, president of the Tunisian Football Federation, has stressed that money will not be a problem - "The sponsors are there, and marketing can solve such problems as equipment, roads and hotels.

"Tunisia is a tourist country, there are a lot of hotels. When we are sure we can organise the World Cup, we will make our equipment the best in the world."

Even more unlikely are Libya, although their bid committee is still holding out some small hope.

"Libya has lately come on strongly in the football area," Libya's bid leader Ali Fahtater has said.

"We have hosted many international games, and the Italian Super Cup last year.

"The league in Libya is not a professional league, it is an amateur league, but it is strong... I think it's legitimate that we have a chance to compete."

But Blatter's decree that a joint bid will not be accepted has gravely damaged whatever chances the two countries had.

There is a feeling that they themselves do not feel they have much of a chance - and are continuing their bids more in an effort to boost their footballing profile than anything else.

Mixed fortunes for North Africa's bids
17 Feb 04  |  World Football
Fifa to reject joint bid
31 Mar 04  |  African
Morocco's World Cup marathon
09 Mar 04  |  African
Battle of the 2010 bidders
03 Feb 04  |  African
Fifa vice-president praises Egypt
04 Apr 04  |  African

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