The Confederation of African Football on Wednesday awarded Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania the hosting rights for the 2027 Africa Cup of Nations.
CAF President Patrice Motsepe announced the East Africa Pamoja Bid as the successful one after the CAF Executive Committee’s meeting in Cairo, Egypt.
“The future of African football has never been brighter,” said Motsepe. “In the near future an African nation will win the World Cup,” he added.
As expected, Morocco won the rights to host the 2025 edition of the Cup of Nations after Nigeria and Algeria withdrew their bids.
Morocco hosted the Cup of Nations last in 1988 and had won the bid for the 2015 edition before CAF stripped them of the hosting rights. The North Africans had asked for the Afcon to be postponed because of the Ebola virus.
The East Africa nations beat Egypt, Senegal, Botswana and Algeria – who withdrew from the race two days before the official announcement – to the hosting rights.
This means that Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania have automatically qualified for the 2027 edition as the hosts, unless there are any late withdrawals of the rights for one reason or another.
“The 2027 edition is going to be beautiful. The commitment and drive made by the three presidents of the countries shows how eager the region is to host this event,” Motsepe emphasised.
In the bid, Kenya are said to have fronted improvements on Moi International Sports Centre, Kasarani, and Nyayo Stadium in Nairobi, with the Kipchoge Keino Stadium in Eldoret, just over 300kms from the capital, the third option.
In Uganda, Caf evaluated proposed amenities including the Mandela National Stadium (Namboole), which is under renovation, and yet-to-be constructed stadiums in Hoima and Lira.
Fufa president Moses Magogo also earlier revealed that they submitted proposed training facilities including Kampala International School (KISU) and Denver Goodwin Stadium, a private entity under construction at Garuga, Entebbe.
Others are Muteesa II Stadium in Wankulukuku, St Mary’s Stadium in Kitende and the under construction Nakivubo Stadium.
The Caf-certified Benjamin Mkapa National Stadium is already inked-in for Tanzania.
Chamazi Complex – home to Azam FC, the CCM Kirumba Stadium in Mwanza and some venues in Dodoma, Arusha and Zanzibar are the other options Tanzania will look to touch up or invest in to meet Caf standards.
“The work begins now, winning the bid is the first step. We fought through to win and be on top of the pile but it is not to be celebrated the work just begins now. Everybody has to pull together and get a tournament going so we don’t lose it like we have done before. Let’s bring Pamoja home,” FKF President Nick Mwendwa said.
According to Caf, match venues of a hosting country or joint hosts should be near an airport and a level five hospital and a five-star hotel. The hosts should also have six stadiums to cater to the 24 teams that take part in the tournament.
Cameroon, 2021 Afcon hosts, used six venues; three of them – 60,000, 50,000 and 20,000 seaters – new, in four cities.
The cost of renovating and building new stadiums along with infrastructure such as hotels, airports and roads in Cameroon was estimated at $885m (UgSh3.2 trillion).
Furthermore on Caf requirements, each host country/countries must have at least three training grounds near match venues that meet Caf set standards.
Among other things, all stadiums must install turnstiles at all gates – from the outside gates to the terrace gates – along with CCTV monitors.
Padded VIP and VVIP seats must be well demarcated, as well as a media centre, media tribune, and a press conference room that can host 50 media personnel.
A mixed zone, photographers’ area, OB van area and VAR operation room are the other key requirements.
Kenya won the bids to host the 1996 Afcon edition as well as the 2018 Africa Nations Championship finals, but on both occasions was stripped of the rights because several venues were not ready.
Ugandans are also still waiting for the completion of the Teryet High Altitude Training Centre 13 years after it was promised by President Museveni following Moses Kipsiro’s double gold at the 2010 Delhi Commonwealth Games.
Only two Cecafa countries have hosted the Afcon, with Sudan staging the first edition in 1957 and again in 1970. Ethiopia hosted in 1962, 1968, and 1976.