The aspirations of Nigeria to co-host the 2027 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) alongside Benin Republic were dashed yesterday, as the Confederation of African Football (CAF) granted the hosting rights to Kenya, Uganda, and Tanzania. These three Eastern African nations presented a joint bid for the prestigious football tournament of the continent.
Nigeria, which previously co-hosted AFCON in 2000 with Ghana, entered the competition with confidence, along with other potential hosts, in their quest to secure the hosting rights. Nevertheless, the Federal government delegation, led by Minister for Sports Development, John Owan-Enoh, experienced disappointment in Cairo, Egypt, when CAF announced the deserving winners of this highly sought-after opportunity.
The decision made by CAF is regarded by many as a wake-up call for Nigeria, highlighting the need for significant improvements in sporting facilities and overall infrastructure. It serves as a reminder that more work needs to be done in order for Nigeria to compete on a global stage.
Football analysts argue that since Cameroon hosted the previous edition in 2021, and Ivory Coast is set to host the 2024 edition, with Morocco confirmed for 2025 AFCON, it is only fair for the tournament to be held in East Africa in 2027. This rotation allows different regions of Africa to showcase their capabilities and contribute to the growth and development of African football.