By Safaa Kasraoui
South African Minister of Sport Tokozile Xasa
South Africa has made its stance on the 2026 World Cup race clear: the South African Football Association (SAFA) will likely support United 2026 in FIFA World Cup bid vote next month.
Yesterday, South African Minister of Sport Tokozile Xasa said that it is “an obligation for sporting bodies to understand what the country’s agenda is.”
Following the threatening tweets of US President Donald Trump last month, South Africa has broken its silence and announced the reasons why it will not cast its vote for Morocco 2026. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the reason is political.
“We are very clear that we cannot support Morocco,” the South African official said.
Quoted by South African news outlet Times Live, the Minister continued, explaining that 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.”
Diplomatic relations between Morocco and South Africa have been rocky ever since Morocco withdrew its ambassador from Pretoria in 2004, when Pretoria recognized the self-proclaimed Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic (SADR).
Commenting on the April 16 statement in support of Morocco, delivered by the President of the South African Football Association (SAFA), Danny Jordan, Xasa said: “There is so much competition to host these kinds of events in Africa. This is why you can hear Danny Jordaan saying I am going to assist [the Moroccan bid].”
These comments follow similar statements by South African Football Federation that denied its support for African bid on May 3.
South Africa’s change of heart came only one day after Morocco announced its decision to cut ties with Iran due to the country’s political interference in Morocco’s internal affairs.
The proximity of the two developments raises questions linking these two events, especially considering South Africa’s strategic partnership with Iran, consolidated through dozens of bilateral investment agreements.
SAFA’s National Executive Committee (NEC) recently released a statement, announcing that the 2026 World Cup bid decision will be made by the federation alone. It added that the federation received presentations from both parties competing to host the 23rd tournament in 2026.
“SAFA wants to reiterate that no decision has been taken at this stage on the matter on who to support,” said the statement, emphasizing that none of its officials have announced the federation’s position on any bid.
The statement contradicts an April statement posted on the official federation page, which has since been deleted from the website. However, a tweet posted by the federation confirms SAFA’s original support for the Moroccan bid. – MWN.