By Duncan Mackay

South African Sports Minister Fikile Mbalula has promised that the Government is behind Durban's bid to host the 2022 Commonwealth Games ©Getty ImagesSouth Africa's Sports Minister Fikile Mbalula has claimed that hosting the Commonwealth Games in 2022 would be a major stepping-stone to one day staging the Olympics. 

Durban has launched a bid for the Commonwealth Games but Mbalula revealed the South African Government have their sights set much higher. 

"The world is looking at South Africa to be the first on the continent to host the Games...even the Olympics," he told a meeting of the South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (SASCOC).

"The question is when?

"Yes it's expensive but we need to think just what legacy Games of this magnitude leave for SA.

"Otherwise, how do we sell this country to the world?

"Nelson Mandela is no longer here now but soccer's 2010 FIFA World Cup was a huge boost, just as the Rugby World Cup and Cricket World Cup."

The Moses Mabhida Stadium will be the centrepiece if Durban is chosen to host the 2022 Commonwealth Games ©Getty ImagesThe Moses Mabhida Stadium will be the centrepiece if Durban is chosen to host the 2022 Commonwealth Games ©Getty Images

Durban are one of two bidders for the Commonwealth Games, along with Canadian city Edmonton, but has so far revealed few details about their campaign, although it is known that the Moses Mabhida Stadium, built for the FIFA World Cup, will be the centrepiece. 

But Mbalula has reassured SASCOC officials that the Government are fully behind it. 

"As a Government we've embarked on the process of the 2022 Commonwealth bid," he said.  

"It's good for athletes and their own confidence but lets remember that the hosting of Commonwealth Games is a precursor to the Olympic Games.

"They are in tandem.

"We have engaged all and are ready to take serious steps in Government to put in a solid bid to make sure these Games come to the African continent.

"I can tell you now the progress of engagement is well underway.

"Let us unite in these campaigns and tell the story of this great nation."

The decision on which city will host the 2022 Commonwealth Games is due to be taken by the Commonwealth Games Federation at its General Assembly in Auckland on September 2, 2015.

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