Egypt will host AFCON 2019 between June 15 and July 13, CAF president, Ahmad Ahmad announced in Dakar Tuesday. It remains unclear whether the disgraced Cameroon will be allowed to participate in the tournament after failing as host. 14 countries – Algeria, Egypt, Ghana, Guinea, Ivory Coast, Kenya, Madagascar, Mali, Mauritania, Morocco, Nigeria, Senegal, Tunisia and Uganda have qualified for the 2019 tournament. The other 10 places will be filled after the final qualifiers between March 18 and 26. And Cameroon will not qualify if they lose to little fancied Comoros Islands.
The CAF executive committee chose Egypt over South Africa to replace Cameroon and its octogenarian President, who were humiliatingly stripped due to security failures over the Ambazonia crisis and delays in preparations from outright incompetence and corruption.
It will be the fifth time Egypt will be hosting the biennial showpiece of African football after 1959, when the country was called the United Arab Republic, 1974, 1986 and 2006.
The choice of Egypt makes them favorites to win a record 8th title this year. They won three of the four previous tournaments they hosted, failing only in 1974 when they were beaten by Zaire (now DRC) in the semi-finals. The star of the current team, Liverpool striker Mo Salah, has retained the African Player of the Year award.
Egypt only entered the running to host the Cup of Nations when Morocco announced they would not bid to do so. Unlike Cameroon and its corrupt and beleaguered football officials, Egypt boast many international-standard venues with the Cairo International Stadium (72,000) and Borg El Arab Stadium in Alexandria (87,000) boasting the largest capacities. Ismaily, Port Said and Suez are among other possible venues for tournament matches as the Cup of Nations returns to north Africa after a 13-year absence.
Some Cameroonians and CPDM regime apologists were peddling stories that CAF would rescind its decisions as Cameroon will complete all the infrastructure and meet the requirement by March 2019. These merchants of self-delusion will have to wait until 2035 to host another AFCON.