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The executive committee of the Confederation of African Football (CAF) has announced the hosting countries for two editions of the African Cup of Nations, in 2025 and 2027.
Next Afcon host decided in CAF meeting
The next Afcon will be held in January 2024, with top players from across the European leagues set to miss portions of their club's season to proudly represent their countries in the high-quality competition.
Afcon 2023 was initially scheduled to be played in the summer of 2023, to reduce scheduling conflicts with the European league season, but due to concerns over the weather at that time of year in host country the Ivory Coast, it was postponed.
It will now be played between 13 January and 11 Februart 2024, with the Ivory Coast hosting the tournament for the first time since 1984.
Senegal will defend their crown from 2021 and Afcon 2023 fixtures will be announced after the 24-team group stage draw held in Abidjan on 12 October 2023.
But the news from Cairo today is about the two Afcon hosts who will follow the Ivory Coast's efforts this winter.
Who will host AFCON 2025?
Morocco will host Afcon 2025 after Guinea were stripped of the right to stage the tournament due to concerns over the nation's infrastructure, facilities and lack of speed in improving these.
2022 FIFA World Cup semi-finalists Morocco were the clear favourites to host the 2025 edition, especially after Algeria withdraw from the race on the eve of the vote.
The decision on who was to host Afcon 2025 was supposed to be made in mid-August, but was pushed back, like much of the organisation around Afcon, which is consistently beset with issues such as these.
Morocco's victory was effectively a process of elimination. Algeria were not the only bid competitors to withdraw, with a Nigeria-Benin joint-bid also doing so, and Zambia, too.
This will be the second time Morocco has hosted Afcon, having first done so in 1988. They were scheduled to host in 2015 but had to give up their right to do so due to the Ebola crisis.
How will Afcon host selection affect the 2030 World Cup bids?
The 2030 World Cup bids remain a fierce battle and the leading bid from UEFA is for the trio of Spain-Portugal-Morocco to combine. Morocco successfully preparing for Afcon 2025 could prove key in that bid's success.
Who will host Afcon 2027?
The Kenya-Uganda-Tanzania trio will host Afcon 2027 after a surprise decision at September 2023's meeting of the CAF.
Senegal were favourites to be awarded the tournament, while Egypt, Botswana and Algeria were also possibilities. While Algeria withdrew on the eve of the vote, the others did not.
The East Africa Pamoja Bid will create a “beautiful” edition of Afcon, said CAF President Patrice Motsepe.
“The future of African football has never been brighter…in the near future an African nation will win the World Cup,” Motsepe said.
“The 2027 edition is going to be beautiful. The commitment and drive made by the three presidents of the countries shows how eager the region is to host this event.”
Several key improvements have been promised by the trio of East African countries.
Kenya will renovate the Moi International Sports Centre in Kasarani and Nairobi's Nyayo Stadium while Uganda are still deciding on their stadium options, with some suggestions they will invest in venues in Fort Portal, Lira and Mbarara.
Tanzania are guaranteed to use the already CAF-certified Benjamin Mkapa National Stadium but will need to improve another couple to meet CAF standards.
What are CAF standards for hosting Afcon?
These CAF standards generally revolve around proximity to an airport and a five-star hotel plus level of hospitality.
There will need to be a total of six stadiums across the three countries to cater for the 24 participating teams.