In a decision that has reverberated across the African continent, the honor of hosting the 2027 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) has been bestowed upon Kenya, Uganda, and Tanzania.
These East African neighbours have forged an alliance under the banner of the “Pamoja Bid.” The momentous announcement came to light during a pivotal gathering in Cairo on the 27th of September, 2023, where the Confederation of African Football (CAF) proclaimed that East Africa would serve as the stage for the continental footballing extravaganza.
However, this achievement was no walk in the park. Football powerhouses hailing from West Africa, including Nigeria, Benin, and Senegal, threw their hats into the ring, each vying for the privilege of hosting AFCON. The competition was fierce, but when the dust settled, it was the Pamoja Bid that emerged triumphant, defying the odds to secure this prestigious opportunity.
Morocco, fresh from their stellar performance in the 2022 FIFA World Cup, have earned the privilege of hosting the 2025 edition. Their remarkable journey witnessed them overcoming footballing giants such as Portugal and Brazil, solidifying their status as formidable contenders on the global stage.
The Bidding Timeline
The CAF Executive Committee formally unveiled the bidding process on the 27th of April, 2023. Member Associations had until the 23rd of May, 2023, to submit their comprehensive bids, encompassing hosting agreements, governmental support, and an array of related documents.
The apex of anticipation was reached on the 7th of September, 2023, as CAF was poised to reveal the hosts for both the 2025 and 2027 AFCON tournaments. Fast forward to the 27th of September, 2023, and the world witnessed the momentous verdict. Morocco was designated as the host for the 2025 AFCON, while the Pamoja Bid secured the prestigious 2027 edition.What makes this victory truly exceptional is that it is a first time experience for all the co-hosts.
Work Required on Stadiums
Kenya showcased its unwavering commitment by presenting the Moi International Sports Complex in Kasarani, Nyayo Stadium, and Kipchoge Keino Stadium as primary venues. With capacities ranging from 30,000 to 60,000 spectators, these stadiums promise an ambiance charged with electric fervor.
In the same vein, Tanzania relied upon the Benjamin Mkapa Stadium, the solitary CAF-approved international venue in East Africa. However, they are not resting on their laurels. The onus is now on them to expedite the enhancements of CCM Kirumba Stadium and Chamazi Sports Complex.Uganda,on the other hand,staked its claim with Namboole National Stadium and a commitment to construct two additional world-class venues.
Tanzania’s Benjamin Mkapa Stadium is the only CAF-approved stadium to host international matches in East Africa at the moment. There is much to be done by the countries in that regard. To ensure that these stadiums gleam in their full glory, Sports Cabinet Secretary Ababu Namwamba has entrusted their renovation to the Kenya Defence Forces (KDF), setting the stage for a monumental transformation.
In a moment of jubilation, Sports CS Ababu Namwamba officially presented the CAF 2027 AFCON bid to President William Ruto at State House Nairobi, in the presence of FKF President Nick Mwendwa.
The news has ignited exuberance across East Africa, as supporters, from the young to the old, envision a new era of footballing glory.Prominent journalist John Allan Namu tweeted,”A favourite sporting memory was going to watch games during All Africa games in 1987 as a child. #AFCON2027 will be time to make new memories with the kids. Go East Africa! Go Kenya!”
Even former Siaya Senator Oburu Odinga joined in the celebration, proclaiming,”Kenya becomes a Co-host #AFCON2027
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For these East African nations, the stakes have never been higher. While an AFCON title has eluded them thus far, the opportunity, complete with the anticipated advantage of home soil, now beckons.