South Africa is ready to host the Olympic Games, after the successful World Cup, says International Olympic Committee president Jacques Rogge.
The South African government announced in May they would not support an Olympic bid, surprising many.
Rogge said he respected the decision but expects the country to enter the Olympic race, perhaps in 2024.
"I felt a genuine desire, speaking to politicians and the president that they want to bid in the future," he said.
"South Africa proved during the World Cup that they are ready for a major event. As a nation they are ready to host the Olympic Games."
Italian capital Rome is the only firm bidder so far to follow Rio de Janeiro as host of the Games in 2020.
South Africa's Olympic committee chief executive Tubby Reddy said he believed sports minister Fikile Mbalula would try to reverse the decision not to bid for the 2020 Games.
"Minister Mbalula is still lobbying his colleagues and maybe it will change," Reddy said.
"It seems that this is the opportune time to at least bid, there are not guarantees that we would win, but everything points in that direction.
"The IOC president has gone on record as saying that there is no reason why we cannot bid; President Zuma said the same thing after the World Cup."
But he added: "Personally I think the government will come back and say 'no' simply because they said no in the first place because of different priorities and that has not changed.
"Perhaps 2024 is more realistic."