Cameroon and Ivory Coast were handed the right to host future African Nations Cup finals as the Confederation of African Football sprung a surprise on Saturday and also named Guinea to host the continental championship.
Five countries were bidding for the 2019 and 2021 finals with Cameroon chosen for 2019 and Ivory Coast for 2021 in a vote of the organisation’s executive committee.
CAF also decided to give Guinea the 2023 edition. Cameroon were previous hosts in 1972 and the Ivorians in 1984 – when the Nations Cup was half the size of its current 16 team format – but Guinea have never before hosted the event.
Algeria and Zambia missed out but it is expected Algeria might be asked to take over from Libya as hosts of the 2017 event.
Libya last month stepped down as hosts because of the on-going civil strife in the north African country. That decision is expected later in the year.
Cameroon’s selection is a symbolic move as it will likely coincide with the departure from office of CAF’s long-standing president Issa Hayatou, who is from the central African country.
Cameroon’s bid was centred around four venues in Bafoussam, Douala, Garoua and Yaounde. The Ivorians plan to use five cities – Abidjan, Bouake, Korhogo, San Pedro and the capital Yamoussoukro.
Guinea’s bid promised to use Conakry, Kankan, Labe and Nzerekore as venues. Ironically the country is currently banned from hosting any international football by CAF because of the Ebola virus outbreak.
The next Nations Cup finals will be held in Morocco from January 17-February 8 next year.