AFCON 2025, 2027 – Will Nigeria win the hosting rights?

AFCON 2025, 2027 – Will Nigeria win the hosting rights?
Photo by Icon sport

The Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) 2023 in Ivory Coast is just around the corner, yet Africa does not know who will host the next tournament.

CAF has had to deal with several issues in the past, with hosting AFCON a problem for the continent. It is not a walk in the park to host a tournament as AFCON, thanks to the pervading economic situation.

Despite these problems, the party must continue. A few countries are queuing up to bring the rest of the continent together in Africa’s biggest football tournament.

Some of the countries bidding for the next two AFCON tournaments include Nigeria/Benin, Algeria, Morocco, Egypt and Botswana.

There is massive interest from the heavyweight countries in Africa for the 2025 and 2027 tournaments.

Will Nigeria succeed in their bid to host the 2025 finals? It is a million-dollar question.

Will Nigeria trump others for AFCON 2025 hosting rights?

afcon 2025 nigeria raring to go
Photo by Icon sport

While AFCON 2023 is around the corner, preparations should have started for the next two tournaments, but CAF has yet to decide on the hosts.

Nigeria has its hat in the ring, hoping to get the 2025 hosting rights. Nigeria has a joint hosting bid with the Benin Republic.

Their bid is up against the might of Algeria, Morocco and Zambia. Algeria and Morocco are two countries that have invested so much in the football infrastructure.

Morocco has a rich tourist culture that could tip the scales in their favour, but Nigeria has a rich tournament history.

Meanwhile, Algeria has built five new stadiums and is renovating several others, as they look to win hosting rights for AFCON 2025.

The West African country with a 200 million population will bank on that history and the tourism potential the country enjoys with Benin to work in their favour.

Another thing that could work against the Nigeria/Benin bid is that two countries from almost the same region won the rights for the last two tournaments (Cameroon & Ivory Coast).

At the moment, Nigeria enjoys an edge over the other countries.

2025 & 2027 AFCON hosts – decisions delayed

afcon caf to decide later this month
Photo by Icon sport

A meeting of the CAF Executive Committee (“EXCO”) was held on Thursday, 7 September 2023, where unanimous resolutions were passed.

Decisions taken by the CAF Leadership were also unanimously ratified.

Concerning the host of the TotalEnergies AFCON 2025 and the AFCON 2027, CAF agreed to meet again in Cairo on Wednesday, 27 September, 2023.

CAF will also decide on the hosts for the 2025 and 2027 tournaments at the next meeting.

Earlier this year, CAF extended the deadline for declaration of interest till April.

The extension was because CAF received interest from Algeria, Morocco and Zambia, plus a co-hosting bid from Benin and Nigeria for the 2025 finals.

Other bids came from Algeria, Botswana, Egypt and a joint candidacy from Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda for 2027.

Nigeria/Benin bid faces North African headache

afcon decision on september 27
Photo by Icon sport

The bidding for the 2025 AFCON is alive because CAF stripped Guinea of the hosting rights last October.

The West African nation was behind in its preparations for the 24-team tournament.

It’s decision time, and despite the feeling of CAF tilting towards Algeria or Morocco, the long-standing political rivalry between the two countries makes it an arduous decision.

However, there may be an arrangement in place with Morocco bidding for one of the two tournaments.

Algeria could get the 2025 event while Morocco gets the 2027 finals, with reports suggesting that both countries have an agreement.

Morocco is well-positioned to host the AFCON, having previously hosted the Club World Cup and the Africa Women's Cup of Nations.

The Nigeria/Benin bid is on a wing and prayer, with CAF sending an independent assessor to evaluate the teams to all bidding countries. However, the final decision rests with the CAF.

AFCON has faced many battles in the past, but is still alive and relevant. The issues date back to South Africa replacing war-torn Libya in 2013.

Guinea lost the 2023 hosting rights after winning it in 2014.

The bidding process saw Cameroon win the 2019 rights while Ivory Coast won for 2021.

As happened with previous tournaments, Cameroon was not ready for AFCON 2019, and CAF duly replaced them with Egypt.

Cameroon then hosted the 2021 edition, which experienced a delay because of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Ivory Coast saw the 2023 event postponed by six months following concerns about the rainy season in West Africa.

The revered CAF tournament has been a mass of issues that has become a regular occurrence and needs addressing.

Perhaps CAF needs solid guarantees of readiness to host a tournament to avoid future embarrassments.

This article was most recently revised and updated 9 months ago

Chooka Izuegbuna is a Sports Journalist with 20 years of experience in print, TV and Radio. He has worked with some of the top media houses in Nigeria, including NTA Network, Channels TV, TVC, Silverbird TV and MITV. Chooka broke his sports reporting teeth with The Game Football Weekly in 2003 as a cartoonist and reporter. Chooka has a passion for football and has been a fan of Enugu Rangers (over 30 years) and Real Madrid (Since 1996).