After a meeting of its Executive Committee held in Cairo on Wednesday, September 27th, the Confederation of African Football (CAF) made some significant decisions regarding the hosting of upcoming Africa Cup of Nations tournaments.
Firstly, and perhaps most notably, the 2025 CAN hosting rights have been awarded to the Kingdom of Morocco. This decision came after a surprising turn of events that saw Algeria, along with all other candidate countries, withdraw their bids, leaving Morocco as the sole contender. The process leading up to this decision was marked by a year of uncertainty, false suspense, behind-the-scenes lobbying, and inspections of potential host nations. The last-minute withdrawal of Algeria, along with Zambia and the Nigeria-Benin partnership shifting their focus to the 2027 edition, cleared the path for Morocco’s selection.
The choice to award Morocco the 2025 Africa Cup of Nations hosting rights may be attributed, in part, to the influence of Fouzi Lekjaa, President of the Royal Moroccan Football Federation and the 4th vice-president of CAF. However, it also aligns with practical considerations. Morocco is already well-prepared for the task, ranking as the top African nation in FIFA rankings and achieving a fourth-place finish in the most recent World Cup. Furthermore, Morocco is actively pursuing the opportunity to co-host the 2030 World Cup with Spain and Portugal. With 2025 just 15 months away, Morocco’s recent successful hosting of African competitions, including the Women’s Africa Cup of Nations and the U23 Africa Cup of Nations, made it a strong candidate.
Looking ahead to the 2027 Africa Cup of Nations, several nations were initially in contention to host the tournament, including Senegal, Botswana, and a trio of East African countries: Kenya, Uganda, and Tanzania. Zambia and the Nigeria-Benin duo joined the race shortly before the CAF meeting. While the Nigeria-Benin partnership appeared to make a savvy move by transitioning their bid to 2027, the Executive Committee members surprised observers by selecting the Kenya-Uganda-Tanzania trio, which was seen as an underdog in the competition.
This decision to host the 2027 Africa Cup of Nations in East Africa represents a notable shift, marking the first time the tournament will return to the region since 1976 when it was held in Ethiopia. It also reflects CAF’s desire to establish a rotation system among African regions to ensure broader participation in hosting the tournament.
In summary, the recent CAF decisions have brought an end to the suspense surrounding the 2025 and 2027 Africa Cup of Nations host nations. Morocco will host the 2025 edition, while a trio of East African countries, Kenya, Uganda, and Tanzania, will have the honor of hosting the 2027 Africa Cup of Nations, ushering in a new era for the prestigious African football competition.