Kenya, Uganda, and Tanzania have emerged victorious in a joint bid to host the prestigious Africa Cup of Nations in 2027.
The Confederation of African Football announced the East Africa “Pamoja” Bid as the winner during a meeting in Cairo, Egypt, on Wednesday.
It is a momentous occasion for these three nations, which have demonstrated their capabilities and commitment to hosting such a grand football event. CAF President Patrice Motsepe expressed his enthusiasm for the future of African football and even predicted that one of the participating nations would eventually go on to win the World Cup.
In a surprising turn of events, Morocco secured the rights to host the 2025 edition of the Africa Cup of Nations after Nigeria and Algeria withdrew their bids. This provided a clear path for East Africa to claim the 2027 hosting rights.
To secure this victory, Kenya, Uganda, and Tanzania triumphed over strong competition from Egypt, Senegal, Botswana, and Algeria, who ultimately withdrew their bid two days before the official announcement. The withdrawal of Algeria undoubtedly increased the chances of the East Africa “Pamoja” Bid to succeed, and it is a testament to the region’s eagerness to organise this significant event.
Motsepe expressed his confidence in the 2027 edition, describing it as “beautiful.” He commended the commitment and drive exhibited by the three presidents of Kenya, Uganda, and Tanzania, highlighting their determination to showcase their capabilities on the international stage.
This achievement brings a sense of pride and excitement to East Africa. The hosting of the Africa Cup of Nations will not only provide a platform for showcasing the football talent in the region but will also boost tourism and the local economy. The influx of football fans, teams, and media personnel will stimulate various sectors, such as hospitality, transportation, and entertainment.
Moreover, the Africa Cup of Nations serves as an avenue for fostering unity and camaraderie among nations on the continent. It brings people together, transcending borders and languages, reinforcing the solidarity and shared passion for football that is so deeply ingrained in African culture. As the competition unfolds, it will create unforgettable memories for players, fans, and the host nations alike.
With its rich football history and passionate football enthusiasts, East Africa is eager to organise an exceptional tournament. The region has produced exceptional football talent that has left an indelible mark on the global stage. Hosting the Africa Cup of Nations will provide an opportunity to showcase the immense potential and talent that exists within these nations.
Preparations are already underway. Host countries will need to invest in upgrading stadiums, infrastructure, and other essential facilities to ensure a seamless and unforgettable experience for teams, supporters, and officials. The responsibility of organising such a significant event is both an honour and a challenge. The three nations will undoubtedly rise to the occasion and deliver a world-class tournament.
As Kenya, Uganda, and Tanzania embark on this extraordinary journey, support from the African continent and the international community will be crucial. The successful hosting of the Africa Cup of Nations will not only elevate the profile of East African football but also contribute to the development and growth of football in Africa as a whole.
CAF standards’ requirements
In the bid, Kenya is 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 300 kms from the capital, the third option.
Uganda is said to have used Namboole Stadium as the guarantee. It is not clear what second and third options were provided, or what training facilities have been pledged.
The under-renovation Nakivubo Stadium’s location, chaotic surroundings and poor access roads is a red flag for CAF, while the preference of natural grass keeps St Mary’s Kitende on the periphery.
But sources close to the bid suggest that the Ugandan government is looking to invest in venues out of the capital, with Buhinga in Fort Portal, Akii Bua in Lira, and Kakyeka in Mbarara.
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.
According to CAF, match venues of a hosting country or joint hosts should be near an airport, 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, the host of the 2021 Afcon, utilised six venues for the tournament. Three of these venues were newly constructed and had seating capacities of 60,000, 50,000, and 20,000 respectively. These stadiums were spread across four different cities.
The total cost of renovating existing stadiums and constructing new ones, along with developing the necessary infrastructure such as hotels, airports, and roads in Cameroon amounted to an estimated $885 million.
In addition to these requirements, CAF mandates that each host country must have at least three training grounds near the match venues that adhere to their set standards. Furthermore, all stadiums must install turnstiles at every gate and have CCTV monitors in place.
To ensure a comfortable viewing experience for VIPs and VVIPs, designated padded seating areas are demarcated. Other essential facilities include a media centre, media tribune, press conference room that can accommodate up to 50 media personnel. The stadiums must also provide a mixed zone area for post-match interviews with players and coaches.
For broadcasting purposes during matches, there should be areas designated for photographers as well as OB van operations. Additionally, VAR (Video Assistant Referee) operation rooms are also required to ensure accurate decision-making during games.
Kenya successfully won bids to host both the 1996 Afcon edition and the 2018 Africa Nations Championship finals; unfortunately they lost their hosting rights on both occasions due to unprepared venues.
Similarly in Uganda’s case, the completion of Teryet High Altitude Training Centre has been long overdue since it was promised by President Yoweri Museveni following Moses Kipsiro’s outstanding performance at the 2010 Delhi Commonwealth Games.
It is worth noting that only two countries from the Council for East and Central Africa Football Associations have hosted Afcon so far. Sudan hosted the first edition in 1957 and again in 1970, while Ethiopia hosted the tournament in 1962, 1968, and 1976.
The 2027 Africa Cup of Nations promises to be a spectacle like no other. Football fans can look forward to witnessing thrilling matches, unforgettable moments, and an electrifying atmosphere. The tournament will undoubtedly leave a lasting legacy in East Africa and create a pathway for future generations of footballers to dream and aspire to greatness.