GABORONE - The latest decision to strip Cameroon of its right to host the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations, due to security concerns and infrastructure delays, will see the continental soccer showpiece rotate in the hands of a few.
With South Africa expected to step in as next year’s host, it means only three countries will have organised the tournament’s last five editions.
In 2012, Equatorial Guinea and Gabon, were the joint hosts, with the competition going to South Africa a year later, as CAF resorted to holding the tournament on odd years, to avoid a clash with the World Cup.
In 2015, the tournament was back in Equatorial Guinea, before it moved next door to Gabon in 2017.
Now, the tournament will return to South Africa, five years since the country last hosted the biennial competition.
Most countries have been reluctant to host due to financial constraints, while some like Zimbabwe and Cameroon have lost hosting rights due to what CAF saw as unpreparedness.
Including next year’s competition, it means only 17 countries would have hosted the 32 editions, since inception in Sudan in 1957. Southern Africa has hosted the competition only three times, once through Angola and twice in South Africa.
The hosting of the competition has largely rotated between North and West Africa.
Football analyst, Calistus Kolantsho said despite the resource challenge, the game needs to be spread across the continent.
“It is not fair, when you are given the opportunity to host, there are opportunities that go with it, like upgrading infrastructure. Other countries should be given a chance as well,” Kolantsho said.
Sports journalist, Bongani Malunga, who this year authored a book titled ‘Why an African nation may never win the World Cup’ said hosting the AFCON is an expensive undertaking.
“The fact that a federation of Cameroon’s magnitude was deemed not ready to host the competition and stripped of hosting rights just seven months before the tournament, shows that some financial commitments were not met. We always use the term logistics, but that’s a disguise for money. Gaining support from the private sector or commercial giants is always a challenge for most African countries,” he said.
He said countries that are well off like Morocco and South Africa, will always be ready to step-in and host as many times as possible.
“Those with the right facilities will always benefit in terms of hosting, while those who trail behind will only look in envy as the hosting rotates. It is a situation that needs to be given more attention.” South Africa said it was looking into CAF’s request to step-in and replace Cameroon as the host. – The Southern Times
Previous AFCON hosts
1959 United Arab Republic (now Egypt)
1984 Ivory Coast
1996 South Africa
1998 Burkina Faso
2000 Ghana & Nigeria
2012 Gabon & Equatorial Guinea
2013 South Africa
2015 Equatorial Guinea
2019 (TBA) CAF has approached South Africa
New Era Reporter
2018-12-13 10:39:16 8 months ago