Egypt beats South Africa to hosting of AFCON 2019 finals

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January 8 – Egypt has replaced Cameroon as hosts of this summer’s Africa Cup of Nations, the Confederation of African Football (CAF) announced today.

Egypt beat South Africa, the only other nation to bid, by 16 votes to one with one abstention at a CAF executive committee vote in Senegal.

Original hosts Cameroon were stripped of host status in November over preparation delays and security concerns and handed 2021 instead.

Egypt has just six months to prepare for the expanded 24-team finals, which kick off in June. It will be the fifth time Egypt, which won the tournament when it last hosted in 2006, has staged the tournament.

“I want to thank the (CAF) Executive Committee for the trust, and I thank the government for this support,” said Egypt FA (EFA) president Hany Abu Rida. “We organised the tournament on 2006 and that make us against a challenge to make better and better, we are ready for this honour.”

“The guarantee from government helped us to win against South Africa and that will help us to make a good tournament,” added Ahmed Shobair, vice-president of Egypt’s FA. “The fans will be back again in the stadiums, which will be full in the tournament I promise.”

Egypt will use eight stadiums, hosting in five different cities: Alexandria, Ismailia, Port Said, Suez and the capital Cairo.

CAF had originally planned to name the new hosts on Wednesday and no reason was given for why the decision was brought forward.

South Africa had much of the necessary infrastructure after hosting the 2010 World Cup and the 2013 edition of AFCON while Egypt only expressed its interest in hosting in the middle of December after Morocco pulled out of the running. But Egypt was being highly tipped to land the event in the build-up to the vote.

June/July is also the South African winter season which could have worked against their bid with fans potentially shying away from attending matches. Perceived bad blood between CAF boss Ahmad Ahmad and South Africa FA president Danny Jordaan may also have come into play according to agency reports and local media. Jordaan was recently upset by little-known Walter Nyamilandu of Malawi in a vote for the FIFA Council membership.

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