Johannesburg, May 7 (IANS) The political instability in the Central African Republic (CAR) has forced world soccer governing body FIFA to move a 2014 World Cup qualifying match between CAR and South Africa to Cameroon.
South Africa will play CAR June 9, 2013 in Yaonde, Cameroon, FIFA announced Monday, reports Xinhua.
The decision was made after the South African Football Association (SAFA) wrote to FIFA and the Confederation of African Football (CAF), requesting to play at a neutral venue owing to the volatile situation in CAR.
Gordon Igesund, the South African national team coach, welcomed the change of venue.
“I am happy that the venue issue has finally been settled. I must commend SAFA, FIFA and CAF for making this happen because we lost our loved ones there not so long ago and the environment is still too tense to have a match in that country. It would definitely not have been the right atmosphere to play there,” he said.
The Seleka rebels overthrew the Francois Bozize’s government in the CAR where 13 South African soldiers died in clashes with rebels outside Bangui, March 24. The unrest in the CAR raised security concerns for South African players.
South Africa defeated the CAR 2-0 at home in the first leg of World Cup qualifying. They were to play the return leg in the CAR.
In a letter to SAFA, Gordon Savic, head of Olympic and World Cup Qualifying, said the situation in the CAR has forced them to postpone the match.
“This has been done due to the fact that the safety and security situation in Bangui has not been adequate for several weeks (since March 24) in order to be able to aim at hosting this important match.” South Africa will also play Ethiopia and Botswana in the World Cup run-ups.