The eagerly anticipated decision regarding the hosts of the African Cup of Nations finals in 2025 and 2027 is scheduled to be announced later this month, as confirmed by the Confederation of African Football (CAF) on Thursday. The announcement of the hosting nations will follow a meeting of the CAF executive committee in Cairo on September 27, according to an official statement.
The anticipation surrounding these two decisions has been building for nearly a year, starting when CAF revoked Guinea’s hosting rights for the 2025 finals in October and subsequently declared that the 2027 finals would also be determined at the same time.
Guinea lost the opportunity to host the 2025 tournament due to significant delays in their preparations for the 24-team competition. CAF initially reopened the bidding process and aimed to make a decision in early 2023 but has repeatedly postponed the announcement.
The deadline for expressing interest was extended to April, during which CAF received bids from Algeria, Morocco, and Zambia for the 2025 finals, along with a joint bid from Benin and Nigeria. Additionally, bids were received from Algeria, Botswana, Egypt, and a collaborative effort from Kenya, Tanzania, and Uganda for the 2027 finals.
The enduring political rivalry between neighboring countries Algeria and Morocco has complicated the selection process, according to sources within the CAF executive committee. However, a compromise seems to have been devised, with Morocco potentially being awarded the 2025 finals and Algeria the 2027 event.
CAF has dispatched evaluation teams to all bidding nations and has appointed an independent assessor to oversee the inspections. Nevertheless, the final decision on the hosts will be made by the CAF executive committee.
The history of hosting the Cup of Nations over the past decade has been marked by various challenges, including South Africa stepping in for war-torn Libya in 2013. Guinea was initially awarded the 2023 finals, alongside Cameroon (2019) and Ivory Coast (2021). However, Cameroon was deemed unprepared for the 2019 finals, leading to Egypt’s hosting. Cameroon eventually hosted the 2021 edition, delayed by a year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Ivory Coast, originally set to host the 2023 event in June, had it postponed for six months due to concerns about the rainy season in West Africa.