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Hosts of 2025 and 2027 AFCON to be decided on Sept. 27

AFCON trophy

The Confederation of African Football (CAF) has announced that the eagerly anticipated selection of hosts for the Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) finals in 2025 and 2027 will finally take place later this month.

The host nations for these two editions of the prestigious tournament will be unveiled after a meeting of the CAF Executive Committee, scheduled for September 27 in Cairo, an official statement revealed Thursday.

These announcements have been eagerly awaited for nearly a year, ever since CAF revoked Guinea’s hosting rights for the 2025 finals in October 2022 and subsequently revealed plans to designate the hosts for the 2027 finals simultaneously.

Guinea’s forfeiture of the 2025 tournament stemmed from CAF’s assessment that the nation lagged significantly behind in its preparations for the 24-team tournament.

Subsequently, CAF initiated a process to reopen bidding, with a plan to make a selection early in 2023. However, CAF has repeatedly postponed the final decision.

The deadline for declaration of interest was extended to April, during which Caf received bids from Algeria, Morocco, and Zambia for the 2025 finals, along with a joint bid from Benin and Nigeria.

Bids were also submitted for the 2027 AFCON by Algeria, Botswana, Egypt, and a collaborative candidacy from Kenya, Tanzania, and Uganda.

Sources within the CAF Executive Committee have suggested that the long-standing political rivalry between cross-border neighbours Algeria and Morocco complicated the decision-making process.

However, a potential compromise has been brokered, with Morocco bidding for only one of the two tournaments. This arrangement leaves the door open for Morocco to secure the 2025 finals, while Algeria could be awarded the 2027 showpiece.

CAF took a thorough approach by dispatching evaluation teams to all bidding countries and appointing an independent assessor to oversee the inspections. Nevertheless, the ultimate decision on the hosts rests with the CAF Executive Committee.

The history of hosting the Africa Cup of Nations in the past decade has been marked by various challenges and shifts, starting with South Africa stepping in to replace war-torn Libya in 2013.

In 2014, Guinea was awarded the right to host the 2023 finals alongside Cameroon (2019) and Ivory Coast (2021). However, Cameroon’s readiness for the 2019 finals was called into question, leading to Egypt’s hosting of the tournament. Cameroon subsequently successfully hosted the 2021 edition, which was delayed by a year due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Cote d’Ivoire was slated to host the 2023 AFCON in June but was postponed by six months due to concerns about the rainy season in West Africa.