Ivory Coast will host the 2023 continental championships, with the 2025 and 2027 hosts yet undecided
Nigeria and the Benin Republic are the favourites to win the hosting rights of the 2027 Africa Cup of Nations, Soccernet.ng reports.
According to a statement by the Nigeria Football Federation, the joint bid by Nigeria and neighbouring Republic of Benin to host the 36th edition of the AFCON has surged to the forefront as the top contenders.
The Executive Committee of the Confederation of African Football is expected to vote on the bids for 2025 and 2027 AFCON on Wednesday, 27 September 2023.
The final decision on the hosts will be determined during the forthcoming vote at the Cairo Marriott Hotel in the Zamalek area of downtown Cairo.
Morocco appear to be virtually assured of hosting the 2025 finals, setting the stage for a competitive race between the joint Nigeria-Benin bid and other contenders, including Senegal, Egypt, Botswana, and a tripartite arrangement involving Uganda, Kenya, and Tanzania for the 2027 event.
However, Algeria, initially a formidable candidate for hosting the 2027 event, abruptly withdrew from contention on Tuesday morning, altering the dynamics of the competition.
Guinea, originally selected to host the 2025 finals, faced insurmountable challenges in preparing for the tournament, including unattended infrastructure and facilities, exacerbated by a change in government.
Consequently, CAF revoked Guinea’s hosting rights.
Nigeria have presented an impressive array of stadiums for consideration, including the MKO Abiola Stadium in Abuja, Adokiye Amiesimaka Stadium in Port Harcourt, Godswill Akpabio Stadium in Uyo, Teslim Balogun Stadium in Lagos, Ahmadu Bello Stadium in Kaduna, Stephen Keshi Stadium in Asaba, Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium in Benin City, and Sani Abacha Stadium in Kano.
In the Republic of Benin, the Stade Mathieu Kerekou in Cotonou and the Stade Charles de Gaulle in Porto Novo have been listed.
Nigeria, with its storied football history, previously hosted and triumphed in the 12th edition of AFCON in 1980 and co-hosted the 22nd finals alongside Ghana in 2000.
On Tuesday night, Nigeria’s official delegation, comprising Minister of Sports Development John Owan Enoh, Permanent Secretary Ismaila Abubakar, President of NFF Ibrahim Musa Gusau, General Secretary of NFF Mohammed Sanusi, and Project Coordinator Mainasara Illo, arrived in Cairo. They were joined by Nigeria’s FIFA Council Member and CAF Executive Committee Member, Amaju Melvin Pinnick.
Amid discussions at CAF’s headquarters in 6th October City, just outside Cairo, the Nigeria/Benin Republic bid has gained substantial traction, supported by Africa’s FIFA Council Members and CAF Executive Committee Members, Amaju Melvin Pinnick (former President of NFF) and Mathurin De Chacus, who currently presides over the Federation Beninoise de Football.
On Wednesday, before the CAF Executive Committee conducts the vote following discussions based on the Independent Assessment Committee’s report, each bidding nation will have a 10-minute opportunity to make a presentation.
Veteran broadcaster and experienced bid campaigner Mainasara Illo, will advocate for the Nigeria/Benin bid.
The Super Eagles won the AFCON in 2013, adding to their triumphs in 1994 and 1980.