|Guinea’s Abdoul Razzagui Camara challenges Mali’s Modibo Maiga for the ball during their African Nations Cup Group D match at Franceville Stadium, South Africa on January 24, 2012. [PHOTO: REUTERS]|
Seven countries have put forward bids to host the 2017 African Nations Cup as the Confederation of African Football (CAF) seeks a replacement for Libya.
CAF confirmed on Tuesday that Algeria, Egypt, Gabon, Ghana, Kenya, Sudan and Zimbabwe all met the Sept. 30 deadline to submit their plans for the tournament and confirm their interest in hosting it.
“The host country will be decided by the CAF Executive Committee during one of its sessions in 2015,” CAF said in a brief statement.
The continent’s governing body has stated that the winning bid will be from a country that will have little need to improve infrastructure and should be ready to host immediately.
Of those bidding, Kenya and Zimbabwe have not hosted tournaments before, though both have had winning bids.
South Africa replaced Kenya as 1996 hosts after the East African nation fell behind in its preparations while Nigeria and Ghana co-hosted in place of Zimbabwe in 2000 due to a lack of funding.
Algeria (1990), Egypt (1974, 1986 and 2006), Gabon (co-hosts in 2012), Ghana (1963, 1978 and 2008, co-hosts in 2000) and Sudan (the inaugural event in 1957 and 1970) have all hosted before.
Libya were stripped of the right to host the continent’s showpiece tournament in August as ongoing fighting in the country delayed plans to build new stadiums for the 16-team finals.
The north African nation was originally scheduled to hold the Nations Cup in 2013 but, because of the unrest, swapped with 2017 hosts South Africa.
Western powers are concerned that Libya will become a failed state as a weak central government cannot control competing militia who helped oust Muammar Gaddafi but now use their weapons to dominate politics or a share of the country’s vast energy resources.
The elected parliament has relocated to the remote eastern city of Tobruk after effectively losing control of the capital Tripoli, where an alliance of armed groups hold sway.
Morocco will hold the Nations Cup next year, with Cameroon chosen as hosts for 2019, Ivory Coast 2021 and Guinea 2023.
Kenya chose to go it alone after failing to get the support of her east African neighbours to place a joint regional bid.
Earlier reports said Kenya was seeking for a joint bid with Uganda, Tanzania and Rwanda. In that scenario, each country would have hosted a group of four teams.
After waiting in vain for the neighbouring nations to respond, Football Kenya Federation (FKF) drafted a bid which was sent to African Football Confederation (CAF) headquarters before the September 30 deadline.