The Confederation of African Football (CAF) has further reshuffled its plans for the hosting of future editions of the Africa Cup of Nations by announcing that Guinea will now stage the 2025 edition of the national team tournament, instead of the 2023 competition as was originally intended.
CAF president Ahmad Ahmad made the announcement yesterday (Sunday) during a visit to Guinea. Ahmad said the President of Guinea, Alpha Condé, had agreed with the decision to delay the hosting rights.
“We have always said very loud and strong that African football cannot develop without close cooperation with our heads of state,” Ahmad said, according to the AFP news agency. “And today I am happy to hear that president Alpha Condé agreed to host the CAN 2025.”
Kiridi Bangoura, State Minister and Secretary General of the Presidency of Guinea, added: “Sincerely, we are happy and in solidarity with the CAF and by discipline, we accept this decision.”
CAF initially awarded hosting rights for the 2019, 2021 and 2023 editions of its showpiece tournament to Cameroon, Ivory Coast and Guinea, respectively, back in 2014. However, a subsequent decision to expand the competition from 16 to 24 teams for the 2019 Cup of Nations has led to significant infrastructure challenges for host nations.
Cameroon was stripped of hosting rights for the 2019 Cup of Nations last month amid delays in stadium construction. Its replacement is due to be announced by CAF on Wednesday. Cameroon was subsequently handed the 2021 tournament meaning that the Ivory Coast’s hosting rights were put back to 2023, a decision it is challenging at the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS).
Speaking ahead of Sunday’s decision, Guinea Football Federation (Feguifoot) president Antonio Souare told BBC Sport that the decision to expand the Cup of Nations will make it difficult for a single country to host the tournament.
Souare said: “To go from four to six stadiums, all of a sudden, for one country do we maybe have to do co-hosting? I’m saying this as an African football leader and administrator, after thinking about it. And I’m still thinking about it.
“It’s not just the six stadiums, we have to build hotels – 2-3 star hotels to lodge the public that come, but for the teams you need 4-5 star hotels. Then you also have the hospitals, telecommunications, roads, airlines. It’s all this. There are many things. Would co-hosting, like we have seen between Gabon and Equatorial Guinea, be a possible fallback solution?”