Morocco has emerged as the frontrunner to replace Cameroon as the host of the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations after the west African country was stripped of the hosting rights late last week.
The move led to the Confederation of African Football admitting that it had “no plan B” in place, despite Cameroon having consistently lagged behind schedule in its preparations for the tournament, which takes place next June.
While South Africa has signalled that it is “seriously considering” bidding for the Afcon, Morocco is known to be desperate to host large-scale events as it prepares for a World Cup bid – in a joint push with Spain and Portugal – in 2030. South Africa previously stepped in to host the 2013 edition after Libya withdrew.
Magdi Abdelghani, board member of the Egyptian football federation, has said that there is “a consensus for Morocco to host the competition”, according to French daily Les Échos. Egypt has confirmed it will not be bidding for the tournament.
Few African countries have the capacity to host the 2019 Afcon, which will be the first edition to expand to 24 teams, and also the first to be played in June instead of January. Morocco already has the majority of the facilities in place, with suitable stadiums spread across six different cities.