In a surprising turn of events, Nigeria and Benin Republic's joint bid to host the Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) 2027 has been unsuccessful.
The bid, which initially held promise, was eclipsed by a triumphant joint bid from Kenya, Uganda, and Tanzania.
This historic decision was made by the Executive Council members of the Confederation of African Football (CAF) during a meeting held in Cairo, Egypt.
A break from tradition: East Africa takes the spotlight
Kenya, Uganda, and Tanzania's selection as co-hosts marks a significant departure from tradition, as it's the first time nations from the Council for East and Central Africa Football Associations (Cecafa) will organize the prestigious tournament since Ethiopia's hosting in 1976.
The choice to entrust these nations with the responsibility highlights their commitment to raising the bar in football administration and organization.
Commenting on the decision, CAF President Patrice Motsepe emphasized the high standards expected from AFCON hosts.
He likened these expectations to those held by European administrative body Uefa and the South American Football Confederation (Conmebol), noting that organizing such tournaments often requires substantial investments in infrastructure.
“The three nations came together because our standards and requirements are very high,” Motsepe stated.
“Sometimes it requires hundreds of millions – sometimes billions – in infrastructure. It makes me proud when football brings countries together. Afcon 2027 is going to be a huge success.”
None of the three co-hosting nations, Kenya, Uganda, and Tanzania, have previously had the honor of hosting the Africa Cup of Nations.
This landmark achievement underscores the evolving landscape of African football and the continent's commitment to developing the sport on all fronts.
Morocco to host AFCON 2025
Meanwhile, Morocco has been announced as the host for the 2025 Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon).
This will be Morocco's second time hosting the tournament, the first being in 1988.
Morocco's selection comes after Guinea was stripped of hosting rights in October last year due to concerns regarding infrastructure and facilities.
Zambia and a joint Nigeria-Benin bid, which has now lost the 2027 bid, were also contenders for the 2025 tournament.
The joint withdrawal of Zambia and Nigeria-Benin was made to give Morocco an opportunity to showcase its capabilities, with hopes of boosting Africa's chances of hosting the FIFA World Cup in the future.
Morocco's ambitions in football extend beyond hosting AFCON.
The nation is jointly bidding with Spain and Portugal for the prestigious 2030 World Cup, further emphasizing Africa's aspirations to bring the global sporting event to the continent.
Upcoming AFCON in Ivory Coast
The next Africa Cup of Nations is set to take place in Ivory Coast from January 13 to February 11, 2024.
Football enthusiasts worldwide eagerly await the draw, which is scheduled to be held in Abidjan on October 12 at 20:00 GMT+1.
As African football continues to evolve, these developments promise to shape the future of the sport on the continent and beyond.
This article was most recently revised and updated 2 months ago