Africa’s most populated nation, Nigeria co-hosted the continental championship with neighbours Ghana in 2000 and a repeat of that successful outing could be on the cards
Reports of Nigeria’s intention to co-host the 2025 Africa Cup of Nations with Benin Republic may not be totally wide off the mark after the tiny West African nation confirmed its involvement in the project.
The host for the 35th edition of the continental championship is yet to be decided after CAF stripped Guinea of the hosting rights following a perceived lack of preparedness.
A few weeks ago, reports emerged in the local media that Nigeria was perfecting plans to present a joint bid with the Republic of Benin to CAF for the rights to stage the tournament.
North African giants Algeria and Morocco as well as Zambia have also indicated an interest in hosting the Afcon.
NFF denies the joint Afcon bid
But the Nigeria Football Federation, NFF, has denied reports that the world’s most populous black nation is planning to host the biggest football showpiece on the continent.
Stating that such a bid does not exist, NFF’s First Vice President, Felix Anyansi-Agwu, insists he is unaware of such a move from the country’s number one football body.
“I don’t think such an arrangement is in progress. I don’t know anything about the AFCON bid,” Anyansi-Agwu told The Guardian.
Benin FF confirms the joint bid
However, the Beninese Football Federation has confirmed that indeed both countries are in the advanced stage of working out a joint bid for the 2025 Afcon.
A member of the executive committee of the Beninese Football Federation, Imorou Bouraïma, revealed that in the proposal, Benin would provide two while Nigeria will present four of the six stadia needed for a successful outing.
“Nigeria is a border country with Benin and we also have almost the same cultures. You know that now the Africa Cup of Nations comprises 24 participating countries and six major stadiums are needed.
“Nigeria has many but Benin in this bid applied with two large stadiums. It is the Stade de l’Amitié in Kouhounou and then the Stade Charles de Gaulle in Porto-Novo,” Imorou Bouraïma said, as per Africa Foot United.
Bouraïma also confirms that the joint bid already has the political backing of the Beninese government.
“The Beninese government is committed so all the commitments have been made. We are launched and very well launched elsewhere. There is a perfect political will to henceforth make Benin known throughout the world.”
Nigeria’s previous hosting record
Three-time African champions, Nigeria have played host to the rest of Africa on two previous occasions.
The West African giants hosted the continental championship for the first time in 1980, going on to lift the title – the country’s first – in the final in Lagos.
Nigeria then co-hosted Afcon 2000 with Ghana and made it to the final before losing on penalties to Cameroon.