What you need to know:
- The three East African countries fully capitalised on a late withdrawal by favourites Algeria to win the hosting rights for the 2027 Africa Cup of Nations.
Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania will from Thursday morning begin joint preparations to host Africa’s biggest football tournament in four years’ time.
The three East African countries fully capitalised on a late withdrawal by favourites Algeria to win the hosting rights for the 2027 Africa Cup of Nations.
Nation Sport understands Algeria withdrew after Morocco was handed the hosting rights for the 2025 edition of this tournament. In hindsight, and for political reasons, it would have been almost impossible for the continental body to “award” to North African countries with the hosting rights “back-to-back when other regions and members were also in the running.
And so in a historic moment for the East African region, which is considered one of the weakest in terms of football standards on the continent, Confederation of African Football (CAF) president Patrice Motsepe made the announcement and in style, to the excitement of the majority of the 150 million football-mad residents.
Donning a blue suit and matching tie in an address to the CAF Executive Committee, the South African mining billionaire, standing at the podium in one of the rooms at the Cairo Marriot hotel in Cairo, pulled out a paper displaying the names “Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania”in that order, alongside each of the countries flags.
“The 2027 edition of this tournament is going to be beautiful,” said a beaming Motsepe afterward.
“The commitment and drive by the three (East African) Presidents shows how eager the region is to host the even.
At hand to receive the hosting rights were top East Africa government officials led by Sports Cabinet Secretary Ababu Namwamba, Damas Ndumbaro (Tanzania), Peter Ogwang (Tanzania) alongside Uganda’s Deputy Speaker Thomas Tayebwa.
“The work begins now. Winning the bid is the first step. We fought through to win and be on top of the pile but it is not to be celebrated, yet. Everybody has to pull together and get a tournament going so we don't lose it like we have done before. Let's bring Pamoja home," said FKF President Nick Mwendwa.
With this announcement, 24 top national teams are expected in Nairobi, Dar es Salaam, Kampala and other cities in these three countries to showcase their skills.
To watch them do this will be tens of thousands of fans in the stadiums plus millions of others who will follow the action live on TV. To ensure the success of this event, arrangements should be in place to ensure the stadiums are up to scratch, and ease movement and hospitality of all the visitors.
Herein comes the challenge.
As it is, East Africa is nowhere near ready to host this 24-nation tournament.
As a matter of fact, the Benjamin Mkapa Stadium in Dar is the only one of the nine venues fit to host a CAF international match.
Nevertheless, both Pamoja bid details the roadmap to the finish line and a report by CAF inspectors who visited these three countries in July appears to have been satisfied with the plans.
In Kenya, Sports Cabinet Minister Ababu Namwamba last week handed over the Moi International Sports Centre, Kasarani and Nyayo Stadium, both in Nairobi, to the Kenya Defence Forces (KDF) for a complete makeover.
Plans are also in place to construct the Talanta Hela Stadium in the capital and make the required makeover to the Kipchoge Keino stadium in Eldoret. The governments of Tanzania and Uganda have also approved of plans to rehabilitate a number of stadiums in Mwanza, Arusha, Dodoma, Kampala, Arua and Hoima. Failure to meet the pre-agreed requirements could lead to losing the rights as has happened before.
CAF stripped Kenya of the hosting rights for the 1996 Africa Cup of Nations and the 2018 Africa Nations Championship (Chan) over lack of preparedness.
And recently, Motsepe recalled his earlier decision to award Guinea the hosting rights for the 2025 Africa Cup of Nations amid concerns over the country’s preparedness.