The Confederation of African Football (CAF) on Wednesday awarded Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania the hosting rights for the 2027 Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon).
CAF President Patrice Motsepe announced the East Africa "Pamoja" Bid as the winner of the rights to host the premier African football bonanza after the CAF Executive Committee's meeting in Cairo, Egypt.
"The future of African football has never been brighter and in the near future, one of our nations will win the World Cup," Motsepe said.
As expected, Morocco won the rights to host the 2025 edition of the Cup of Nations after Nigeria and Algeria withdrew their bids.
Ladies and gentlemen, meet your CAF Africa Cup of Nations 2025 hosts 🥁— CAF (@CAF_Online) September 27, 2023
🇲🇦 Morocco 🇲🇦 pic.twitter.com/sCl9dmbKw5
The East Africa nations beat Egypt, Senegal, Botswana and Algeria - who withdrew from the race two days before the official announcement - to the hosting rights.
The means that Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania have automatically qualified for the 2027 edition as the hosts.
"The 2027 edition is going to be beautiful. The commitment and drive made by the three presidents of the countries shows how eager the region is to host this event," Motsepe added.
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 300kms 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, 2021 Afcon hosts, used six venues: three of them - 60,000, 50,000 and 20,000 seaters - new, in four cities.
The cost of renovating and building new stadiums along with infrastructure such as hotels, airports and roads in Cameroon was estimated at $885m (Ksh3.2 trillion).
Furthermore, on CAF requirements, each host country/countries must have at least three training grounds near match venues that meet CAF set standards. Among other things, all stadiums must install turnstiles at all gates - from the outside gates to the terrace gates - along with CCTV monitors.
Padded VIP and VVIP seats must be well demarcated, as well as a media centre, media tribune, and a press conference room that can host 50 media personnel.
A mixed zone, photographers’ area, OB van area and VAR operation room are the other key requirements.
Kenya won the bids to host the 1996 Afcon edition as well as the 2018 Africa Nations Championship finals, but on both occasions was stripped of the rights because several venues were not ready.
Ugandans are also still waiting for the completion of the Teryet High Altitude Training Centre 13 years after it was promised by President Yoweri Museveni following Moses Kipsiro’s double gold at the 2010 Delhi Commonwealth Games.
Only two Council for East and Central Africa Football Associations (Cecafa) countries have hosted the Afcon, with Sudan staging the first edition in 1957 and again in 1970. Ethiopia hosted in 1962, 1968, and 1976.