Kenyans are holding their breath waiting to learn if the Confederation of African Football’s executive committee will today vote for the Pamoja bid to stage the 2027 Africa Cup of Nations.
Kenya, which got the nod from CAF to host the 1996 fiesta and the hosting rights were later handed to South Africa, has joined hands with neighbours Tanzania and Uganda to try for a second time.
Sports Cabinet Secretary Ababu Namwamba last week announced the closure of Nyayo Stadium, Kasarani International Stadium and Kipchoge Keino Stadium for renovations as part of the preparations for success of the joint bid.
Meanwhile, Algeria have withdrawn their bid to host either the 2025 or 2027 finals on the eve of the vote, the country’s football association announced yesterday.
The Algerian Football Federation (FAF) said the decision to withdraw their candidacy was “motivated by a new approach to the football development strategy in Algeria”.
“The FAF will now focus its efforts on the reorganization and revitalization of football in Algeria, as it reiterates its unwavering commitment to the development of African football.”
“On this occasion, the FAF extends its sincere thanks to the great family of African football for the understanding of its decision which in no way signifies a disengagement of Algeria from the king of sport on the continent,” it added in a statement on their website (www.faf.dz).
The withdrawal means they avoid the diplomatic embarrassment of potentially losing out to neighbors Morocco in the 2025 vote. Algeria and Morocco have a strained relationship, both at political and sporting level, with football often an arena for public points scoring.
Algeria built new stadiums and upgraded other infrastructure to host the African Nations Championship at the start of the year. The tournament for quasi national teams, that are made up of home-based players only, was declared a success and strengthened Algeria’s case for the hosting of the larger 24-team Cup of Nations.
But African football insiders said they had lost ground in the behind-the-scenes jostling for votes, with Morocco heavy favorites for 2025 and Senegal for 2027.
The decision on the hosts for the 2025 and 2027 finals has been eagerly waited for almost a year since CAF stripped Guinea last October of the right to host the 2025 finals and then said it would also name the hosts of the 2027 finals at the same time as deciding on a replacement for Guinea, who were found to be well behind in preparations.
Algeria, Morocco, Zambia and a joint bid from Benin and Nigeria were in the running for the 2025 finals.
Algeria, Botswana, Egypt, Senegal and a joint candidacy from Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda submitted bids to host the 2027 tournament.
The hosting of the Cup of Nations has had a checkered history in the last decade, starting with South Africa stepping in to replace war-torn Libya in 2013.
In 2014 Guinea were awarded the right to host the 2023 finals, along with Cameroon (2019) and Ivory Coast (2021).
But Cameroon were declared not ready for the 2019 finals, so Egypt stepped in. Cameroon then hosted the 2021 edition, delayed by one year by the COVID-19 pandemic. Ivory Coast were supposed to host the 2023 event in June but it has been postponed by six months because of concerns over the rainy season in West Africa.
Additional material from Reuters .