December 12 – African football’s leadership will decide on January 9 who will replace Cameroon as hosts of next year’s African Cup of Nations in June and July, giving them only six months to prepare.
Confederation of African Football (CAF) Ahmad Ahmad made the announcement on Monday a week after Cameroon were controversially stripped as hosts due to delays with preparations and security concerns.
Countries have until 11.00pm on Friday this week to submit official bids to host the 24-team tournament. Despite reports of interest from Morocco no-one has yet made an official declaration of interest to host the event.
The South Africa Football Association (Safa) is reportedly planning a meeting with the country’s sports minister Tokozile Xasa today in order to decide whether to bid. Xasa has expressed an interest in South Africa stepping in as hosts for a third time but admitted she needed more details before finalising the offer.
Ahmad told AFP that “two or three” candidates had shown an interest naming South Africa as having filed a letter of intent.
“According to my information, two or three letters of intent have arrived,” he said. “South Africa is one of the countries to have sent a letter of intention. Two or three countries have made serious inquiries.”
“Everything will be finalised by December 25 to create a short-list of candidates who have been evaluated and noted,” Ahmad said. “The executive committee (of the CAF) will meet in Dakar on January 9, when we will make a decision.”
The decision to ditch Cameroon for 2019 has created a confusing scenario, however. They have now been promised the 2021 edition, originally given to Ivory Coast, who are now being asked to stage the tournament in 2023 but have reacted angrily to the switch. Ahmad admitted he is still waiting for Ivory Coast to confirm it would be happy to forego staging the 2021 tournament.
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