South Africa has once more proved that it is a destination of choice for major sporting events after hosting a successful 2013 Africa Nations Cup (Afcon), says SA Football Association (Safa) president Kirsten Nematandani.
The three week-tournament concluded at Johannesburg's National Stadium on Sunday with Nigeria being crowned champions of Africa for a third time after beating their West African neighbours Burkina Faso 1-0 in the final.
"In terms of the size and behaviour of the crowds, standard of play, organisation and general atmosphere, the tournament has set a benchmark for future Afcon tournaments," Nematandani said in a statement on Monday.
'The atmosphere was electric'
"The atmosphere at the final was electric and being beamed across the globe; it again demonstrated Mzansi's ability to host major tournaments."
Nematandani thanked President Jacob Zuma and Sport Minister Fikile Mbalula for giving the tournament their unqualified support.
"To the CEO, Mvuzo Mbebe and his Afcon team, I would like to extend my special thanks. It is also vital to acknowledge the contribution made by the volunteers and all of the fans who supported the event.
"Finally, I would like to acknowledge the contribution of the media who played their part in the excellent coverage of the tournament."
The Safa president said despite Bafana Bafana being knocked out in the quarter finals, South Africans continued to support the tournament until its conclusion, as was witnessed in the subsequent final four games.
"As a nation, we did a great job in creating a hosting environment that made all of Africa feel welcome.
"This morning I woke up as a proud South African, and am now looking forward to doing it all again in 2014 when South Africa hosts the African Nation Championships."
African Nations Championship
The African Nations Championship (CHAN) is played every two years, alternating with the Africa Cup of Nations. It includes national teams that feature only players who are playing in the domestic leagues of their home countries.
The first tournament was hosted by Côte d'Ivoire in 2009 and won by the Democratic Republic of the Congo. In 2011, the tournament was held in Sudan and won by Tunisia.