JOHANNESBURG - The Minister of Sport and Recreation, Tokozile Xasa, has boldly declared South Africa would not vote for Morocco in their 2026 World Cup bid.
She said South Africa would not do so based on the country’s political stance in recognising the Western Sahara as a sovereign state, which has put it at loggerheads with Morocco.
She said this after the Safa president Danny Jordaan promised to vote for the continent’s only bid for the global showpiece as Morocco is also competing with a joint bid by the United State of America, Mexico and Canada. Safa then issued a retraction, saying their NEC would decide who Safa will vote for.
“We are very clear that we can’t support Morocco,” Xasa was quoted as saying. “Our 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.
"You cannot, just because you have experience in Fifa matters, go against the mandate of your country. South Africa has hosted many big events in the past we are recognised throughout the world our teams are doing very well.
"But there is so much competition to host these kinds of games even in Africa. That’s why you can hear Danny Jordaan saying ‘I am going to assist Morocco in their bid to host the World Cup’.”
This is a good shift for a country that tends to forget the people who were with it during the dark days of apartheid. The international sporting community played a big role in the fight which resulted in apartheid South Africa being kicked out of major international tournaments such as the Olympics to the Africa Cup of Nations and World Cup. You would expect such a country to continuously hold the moral high ground on who they support in the international arena.
Morocco doesn’t deserve our support due to their oppressive nature towards Western Sahara. But this shouldn’t just be a tit-for-tat decision in settling political scores. South Africa should consistently fight against oppressors as it benefited from a number of athletes sacrificing their careers by deciding to boycott the Olympics that featured apartheid South Africa. Their efforts eventually led to the country being kicked out of every major international tournament.
Some argue that politics shouldn’t be brought into sport. But then the tyrants who ran South Africa would have got to legitimise their oppressive regime on the world stage like Adolf Hitler and the junta that ran Argentina did. There should be no normal sport in an abnormal society.