Tanzania, Kenya and Uganda have officially entered the process of competing to host the 2027 African Cup of Nations.
These countries want to jointly organize the 36th finals of AFCON 2027 through their program called ‘Joint Bid’.
If they succeed in becoming the hosts, it will be a historical record because it will be the first time that the competition will be held in the East African region since it was officially established in 1957.
President Samia Suluhu Hassan of Tanzania on Wednesday May 24, 2023 has received a special letter of request for Tanzania, Kenya and Uganda to host AFCON 2027 from the President of the Tanzania Football Federation, TFF, Wallace Karia.
His Kenyan counterpart, William Ruto received such a letter on May 15, 2023 at the Nairobi State House from the leaders of the federation, FKF under President Nick Mwendwa.
And for Uganda, Deputy Speaker of Parliament, Thomas Tayebwa, Minister of State Peter Ogwang and the boss of the Football Federation (FUFA), Moses Magogo led a delegation that presented the document of the plan to President Yoweri Museveni and his wife who is also the Minister of Education and Games, Janet Museveni, at Entebbe Palace.
With the good intentions of these three brother nations to want to organize the championship together, there are important criteria to be considered that increase several opportunities and challenges regarding their hosting.
It took Uganda 38 years to qualify AFCON (2017) again, since they did so in 1978. Their brothers Tanzania took them 39 years to qualify AFCON (2019) since they did so in 1980.
Since it was established 66 years ago, Kenya itself has qualified 6 times and for the first time it qualified in 1972. Tanzania has only participated in the AFCON finals twice (1980 and 2019) and Uganda itself has participated in AFCON 7 times for the first time in 1962.
So the first clear opportunity for these countries that barely qualify for this tournament, is to enter or qualify directly to play in the AFCON 2027 finals.
If you stop promoting culture and increasing social activities, the second biggest opportunity is economic. The last AFCON 2019 tournament held in Egypt after it failed to be held in Cameroon due to security reasons, earned the country $83 million in revenue. A similar level was achieved when they were held in Equatorial Guinea in 2015 and Gabon in 2017.
The passion for football in these countries except Egypt is normal compared to countries like Tanzania. The average number of fans who entered stadiums for AFCON 2019 matches is 18,000 people, a level that is normal for Tanzania, especially when it involves big matches. It may not be the same for its neighbors Uganda and Kenya, but the tournament will attract thousands upon thousands of people, even those who don’t follow football much.
And this is exactly what drives these three countries to want to organize AFCON 2027.
AFCON attracts billions of people. More than 1 billion people watch this tournament on television. No one wants to see a player like Morocco’s Achraf Hakimi, who recently created a buzz by not giving anything to his divorcee, putting all his assets in his mother’s name. In 2027 he will be 28 years old.
That will be the year of stars like Amad Diallo winger of Manchester United from the Ivory Coast, Edmond Tapsoba, 22 of Bayer Leverkusen from Burkina Faso, Kreptin Diatta, 22, who is called the best young player in Africa at the moment who has gained fame in AFCON 2019 with Senegal and who is playing there Belgium and Club Brugge.
There are many on whom the eyes of the world will be watching. Pape Matar Sarr is 20 years old and another AFCON winner with the Senegalese national team playing for Tiottenham Hotspurs.
Others are David Fofana of Chelsea and Ivory Coast, Tariq Lamptey (Ghana), Cheick Doucouré (Mali), Rayan Aït-Nouri (Algeria) and Samuel Chukwueze (Nigeria).
I have not mentioned Mohammed Salisu of Ghana and Southampton, Kelechi Iheanacho of Nigeria and Leicester who will be 30 years old, as is the case with Gnaly Cornet of Westham and Ivory Coast.
If you let the social activities increase during the tournament, AFCON is a good opportunity to promote the tourism attractions that exist in this region and will bring visitors for the next 10 to 20 years.
When Hakimi comes with his national team, he will have the opportunity to know the attractions of Tourism, when he returns to his PSG team in France, it will not be strange if he tells his friend Kylian Mbappe, and then the goal of promoting tourism through football shows itself, and Mbappe coming to visit the attractions If he reaches the East or other people around him, the goal is fulfilled.
“The income of this competition is not only for entries, but it is to put the country on the map, so you will promote tourism, you will create jobs, you will raise income, the infrastructure will be strengthened, businesses will increase and that is when you benefit economically through this type of competition”, says Juma Shomvi, analyst and monitor of football in Tanzania.
by Emodia Hallan