AFCON reshuffle sees Guinea confirmed as 2025 host
The Confederation of African Football (CAF) has announced that Guinea will host the 2025 edition of the Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) as the latest part of a chaotic reshuffle, with the location of this year’s tournament still unconfirmed.
Guinea had originally been handed the hosting rights to the 2023 competition. However, after the Cameroon Football Federation (FECAFOOT) was stripped of this year’s event due to security and infrastructural fears and handed the 2021 tournament instead.
Both the 2021 and 2023 hosts have previously been reassigned. The Ivory Coast – which had initially won the tender to hold the 2021 event in 2014 – will now host the 2023 competition, leaving Guinea as the host nation in 2025.
Despite the nation’s willingness to agree to the continental body’s demands, Guinea Football Federation (FEQUIFOOT) President Antonio Souare has admitted that hosting the tournament will come with challenges.
While all of Cameroon, Guinea and the Ivory Coast all originally applied to host 16-team tournaments, AFCON has since been expanded to a 24-nation event. It is a decision that has brought with it an added test.
Kiridi Bangoura, Guinea’s State Minister, told BBC Sport: “To go from four to six stadiums, all of a sudden, for one country do we maybe have to do co-hosting? I’m saying this as an African football leader and administrator, after thinking about it. And I’m still thinking about it.
“It’s not just the six stadiums, we have to build hotels – 2-3 star hotels to lodge the public that come, but for the teams you need 4-5 star hotels. Then you also have the hospitals, telecommunications, roads, airlines. It’s all this. There are many things. Would co-hosting, like we have seen between Gabon and Equatorial Guinea, be a possible fallback solution?”
The Association of Amateur Clubs in Cameroon (ACFAC) is filing a second complaint with the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) against CAF for its decision to expand the competition. The eight-team increase came three years after Cameroon was first announced as the 2019 host nation.
One of Egypt or South Africa will host the 2019 competition, after they were the only two countries to put forward submissions. The Egyptian Football Association (EFA) had originally declined the opportunity to bid, placing its support behind a Moroccan bid. However, when Morocco also declined to join the hosting race, Egypt submitted a late proposal. A final decision will be made on 9th January, with South Africa the favourite to be awarded the event.
Yet, should the ruling go in the South African Football Association’s (SAFA) favour, it could lead to further confusion.
South Africa have not yet secured their place at the competition, with a final qualifier to take place in March. Traditionally, the host nation has been handed automatic qualification to the event, with Egypt already having confirmed their place at the expanded 24-team summer tournament.
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