THE South African Football Association (Safa) will send a letter to the Confederation of African Football (Caf) today announcing SA's intention to bid for the 2015 African Nations Cup.

Safa president Kirsten Nematandani told Business Day that they did not anticipate any problems from Caf relating to match venues, transport, security and accommodation - the biggest challenges bidders always face - after SA successfully hosted the 2010 Soccer World Cup from June 11 to July 11.

"We are making our intentions very clear that we want to host the African Nations Cup again," Nematandani said.

"We think that we have a strong case to present to Caf and it would be good for this country following the success of the World Cup.

"We have the facilities and we really would not need to do a lot of work for the event."

SA hosted the African Nations Cup in 1996 after Kenya, the original hosts of that tournament, failed to meet a series of Caf deadlines.

The Kenyan government had undertaken to build a new stadium in Mombasa as a condition for hosting the tournament. But when Caf finally lost patience after months of inactivity, SA was the main beneficiary and stepped in as a last- minute replacement host.

"Effectively, we have never bid to host the tournament and this will be our first time," Nematandani said.

"We believe there is no better way to thank Africa for supporting us during the World Cup than to host the Nations Cup in the same match venues. Of course we need the support of our government and we will also be talking to them."

Nematandani said while Safa was hoping to use most of the facilities that were part of the World Cup, it would not be possible to utilise all of the venues.

While the African Nations Cup is a major tournament, it will make use of fewer facilities than the World Cup did: it has 16 participating nations, as opposed to the 32 that took part in the global showpiece.

"That is why I think that we have to give all the cities a chance and that means they (cities) would have to make bid presentations to become hosts. We cannot use all the venues and it would be fair for us to do it that way," Nematandani said.

The World Cup was played at Johannesburg's Soccer City and Ellis Park, Durban's Moses Mabhida Stadium, Rustenburg's Royal Bafokeng Sports Palace, Bloemfontein's Free State Stadium, Pretoria's Loftus Stadium, Cape Town Stadium in Green Point, Polokwane's Peter Mokaba Stadium, Mbombela Stadium in Nelspruit and Port Elizabeth's Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium.

It is unlikely any other country will be brave enough to bid against SA as the above facilities surpass anything on the continent.

More pertinently, Caf will view hosting the event in SA as an opportunity to market a tournament that it desperately wants to elevate to the same level of importance as Uefa's flagship tournament, the European Championships.

The Safa president said Safa was excited that the African Nations Cup could make use of the Gautrain, which is expected to showcase the nation's feats.

"It (Gautrain) will have been in operation for some time by 2015 and it should be part of our bid plans for transport," he said.

Soccer City continued to rake in the awards this week. The host of the World Cup final was announced as the overall winner of this year's international Leaf Awards for architecture, and the winner in the best public-building category.

ntlokom@bdfm.co.za