Morocco and Kenya-Tanzania-Uganda, the next hosts for the African Cup of Nations

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Morocco was chosen to host the 2025 Africa Cup of Nations finals, taking over from Guinea, which had its hosting rights revoked last year. The 2027 hosting rights were awarded to a joint bid from Kenya, Tanzania, and Uganda.

Morocco emerged as the automatic winner after Algeria, Zambia, and a joint bid from Benin and Nigeria withdrew their bids prior to the vote by the Confederation of African Football’s executive committee in Cairo. Morocco, situated in North Africa, was the clear favourite and sees this decision as a positive development for their aspirations of co-hosting the 2030 World Cup with Portugal and Spain.

Conversely, the victory of the joint East African bid for the 2027 tournament came as a surprise. This marks the first return of the finals to the region since 1976, as the East African bid surpassed competitors like Botswana, Egypt, and Senegal. Algeria, initially a candidate, withdrew a day before the decision was made. Kenya had previously been granted the hosting rights for the 1996 Cup of Nations but had them revoked due to inadequate preparations. Recently, the country had a long FIFA ban lifted after facing government interference in its football federation’s operations.

The 2025 finals will be only the second time Morocco has hosted Africa’s most popular sporting event, the first being in 1988. Morocco was initially set to host the 2015 Cup of Nations finals but withdrew due to concerns about the Ebola virus in West Africa, a decision that was strongly criticized by CAF, resulting in a two-year ban from African competitions. Since then, Morocco has worked on building diplomatic ties with African nations, using football as a means of collaboration. They have hosted various CAF events, including women’s and youth tournaments, and allowed numerous African countries with bans on hosting international games due to poor pitch or stadium conditions to use Moroccan stadiums.

During Morocco’s previous hosting of the Cup of Nations, it was an eight-team event held in just two venues: Casablanca and Rabat. However, for the 2025 edition, they have proposed using six stadiums located in Agadir, Casablanca, Fes, Marrakech, Rabat, and Tanger.

The history of hosting the Cup of Nations has been marked by changes and challenges in the past decade, starting with South Africa stepping in to replace war-torn Libya as the host in 2013. In subsequent years, Guinea, Cameroon, and Ivory Coast were selected as hosts, but there were issues, including Cameroon not being ready for the 2019 finals and Egypt stepping in, as well as delays in the 2021 edition due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Ivory Coast’s hosting of the 2023 event was postponed by six months due to concerns about the rainy season in West Africa. The upcoming Cup of Nations finals are scheduled to take place from January 13 to February 11 next year.

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