How Djibouti, Sudan played key role in 2027 Afcon bid

Patrice Motsepe, president of the African Confederation of Football (CAF), announces the host countries for the 2027 Africa Cup of Nations during a ceremony held in Cairo on September 27, 2023.

Photo credit: Khaled Desouki |AFP

What you need to know:

  • Patrice Motsepe, the president of the Confederation of African Football (Caf), had last Wednesday announced that the three East African countries had won the rights to co-host the 36th edition of the continental football extravaganza.

Djibouti and Sudan played a crucial role in the success of the East Africa “Pamoja Bid”, Football Kenya Federation (FKF) president Nick Mwendwa has revealed.

Patrice Motsepe, the president of the Confederation of African Football (Caf), last Wednesday announced that Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania had won the rights to co-host the 36th edition of the Africa Cup of Nations in 2027.

Speaking on NTV’s Monday night sports show SportOn! Mwendwa revealed that together with his counterparts from Uganda and Tanzania, it took them a lot of lobbying for the East Africa “Pamoja Bid” to beat single bids by Egypt, Senegal and Botswana and Algeria.

Moses Magogo is the president of the Federation of Uganda Football Associations, while his Tanzania Football Federation counterpart is Wallace Karia.

Mwendwa said that since all of them do not speak or understand French and Arabic, they roped in their colleagues from Djibouti and Sudan, who are conversant in the two languages to help them with the lobbying.

"Remember the three of us (Mwendwa, Magogo and Karia) are English speaking, so we needed people on our side with good French and Arabic to be sure that we were being told was the right thing. So we had Djibouti and Sudan with us. They were pulling the Arab sides for us and so the five of us were going for this. Remember both of them had votes, which made it even better,” said the FKF boss.

He said the East Africa “Pamoja Bid” was boosted by the withdrawal of Algeria from the bidding process and the rule by Caf, which states that countries in the bidding process but with seats in the Executive Committee cannot vote.

Since Senegal and Botswana have seats in the executive committee, they were barred from voting.

“From about last week on Friday, we knew that there was a chance but when Algeria pulled out, we knew there was a bigger chance,” said Mwendwa.

The federation boss said all facilities earmarked to host the competition should be ready by the end of 2025.

As match venues, Kenya presented in the bid the iconic, 60,000-seater Moi International Sports Centre (MISC), Kasarani, 30,000-seater Nyayo National Stadium in Nairobi and Kipchoge Keino Stadium in Eldoret.

The training grounds included; MISC Kasarani Annex, Police Sacco Stadium, Kenya Utalii College Sport Club, Ulinzi Sports Complex and Jamhuri Sports Complex, 64 Stadium and University of Eldoret grounds.

Mwendwa said that MISC and the yet-to-be-constructed 50,000-seater, Talanta Stadium at the Jamhuri Sports Complex are the venues Kenya has fronted to host the matches with the rest acting as backups.

Meanwhile, Uasin Gishu Governor Johnathan Bii has defended the decision by the government to select Eldoret as one of the towns to host the Afcon matches, saying it is strategically located.

Kisumu Governor Anyang' Nyong'o and his Kakamega counterpart Fernandes Barasa had protested the move, saying Eldoret is not a "football passionate" town.

They want Eldoret replaced by either Kisumu or Kakamega.