September 28 – Morocco will host the 2025 Africa Cup of Nations, the Confederation of African Football Confederation (CAF) confirmed on Wednesday. The East African triumvirate of Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda will stage the 2027 finals.
On the eve of the host announcement, Algeria, who staged the African Nations Championship earlier this year, had withdrawn from the bidding race, leaving Morocco as the sole candidate to stage the tournament, duly confirmed as hosts by CAF.
Zambia and a joint bid by Benin and Nigeria had pulled out of the race as well. “The decision that was taken today was to focus on African unity, development and growth, in the context of those countries withdrawing,” said CAF chairman Patrice Motsepe.
“A huge amount of money is being spent on Morocco for 2025. The bid from Morocco to host the World Cup is not just for Morocco, but for the whole of Africa.”
It’s the first time since 1988 that Morocco will organise the continent’s premier football tournament.
The Moroccans had been due to stage the 2015 iteration, but the finals were shifted away when the Moroccans withdrew over fears of the Ebola crisis. They now step in to replace Guinea, who were stripped of the tournament earlier this year, highlighting the recent checkered hosting history of the competition.
Agadir, Casablanca, Fes, Marrakech, Rabat and Tanger have been proposed as host cities.
The hosting award will come as a boost to the North African country, who are part of a joint bid with Spain and Portugal to land the 2020 World Cup. Earlier this year Morocco hosted the Club World Cup.
In a surprise, the 2027 Africa Cup of Nations will be hosted by Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda, the finals returning to East Africa for the first time since 1976 when Ethiopia staged an 8-team tournament.
In 1996, the tournament was shifted away from Kenya because of poor preparation. The ‘Pamoja’ bid beat bids by Senegal, Botswana and Egypt in the vote. “The tournament has to be spread around the regions and contribute to the development of football,” said Motsepe.
He added, “The commitment and drive made by the three presidents of the countries shows how eager the region is to host this event.”
There may be concerns over the three nations’ infrastructure to host the 24-team tournament.
The Kenyans have promised upgrades to the Moi International Sports Centre, Kasarani and Nyayo Stadium, with the Kipchoge Kein Stadium in Eldoret mooted as another option. Uganda have proposed the Mandela National Stadium as a venue with Hoima and Lira as other host cities. In Tanzania, there is the CAF-approved Benjamin Mkapa National Stadium.
Motsepe expressed his confidence in Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda delivering the finals.
“Sometimes it requires hundreds of millions – sometimes billions – in infrastructure. It makes me proud when football brings countries together. Afcon 2027 is going to be a huge success,” he said.
Ivory Coast will host the next Africa Cup of Nations in January and February.
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