In a recent announcement by the Confederation of African Football (CAF), Kenya, Uganda, and Tanzania have been awarded the hosting rights for the 2027 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON). The decision was made during the CAF Executive Committee’s meeting in Cairo, Egypt, with CAF President Patrice Motsepe declaring the East Africa Pamoja Bid as the successful one.
This victory for East Africa came after Morocco secured the rights to host the 2025 edition of the Cup of Nations when Nigeria and Algeria withdrew their bids. In the bid for the 2027 AFCON, East African nations surpassed competition from Egypt, Senegal, Botswana, and Algeria, who withdrew from the race just two days before the official announcement.
As the hosts, Kenya, Uganda, and Tanzania have secured automatic qualification for the 2027 edition, unless any unforeseen circumstances lead to the withdrawal of hosting rights. CAF President Motsepe expressed optimism about the upcoming tournament, stating, “The 2027 edition is going to be beautiful. The commitment and drive made by the three presidents of the countries show how eager the region is to host this event.”
Each of the host countries presented plans for stadium improvements and new facilities. Kenya focused on enhancing Moi International Sports Centre, Kasarani, and Nyayo Stadium in Nairobi, with Kipchoge Keino Stadium in Eldoret as an alternative option. Uganda’s proposal included the renovation of Mandela National Stadium (Namboole) and the construction of new stadiums in Hoima and Lira. Tanzania’s plans featured the already certified Benjamin Mkapa National Stadium and several other venues across the country.
According to CAF requirements, host countries must provide match venues near airports and level five hospitals, along with five-star hotels. They should also offer six stadiums to accommodate the 24 participating teams. These stadiums must meet specific standards, including the installation of turnstiles at all gates, CCTV monitors, designated VIP and VVIP seating, media facilities, press conference rooms, and other key amenities.
The history of hosting the AFCON has been mixed for these East African nations. Kenya won the bids to host the 1996 AFCON edition and the 2018 Africa Nations Championship finals but lost both opportunities due to venue readiness issues. Uganda, on the other hand, has been waiting for the completion of the Teryet High Altitude Training Centre, promised by President Museveni 13 years ago after Moses Kipsiro’s success at the 2010 Delhi Commonwealth Games.
It’s noteworthy that only two CECAFA (Council for East and Central Africa Football Associations) countries have previously hosted the AFCON, with Sudan hosting in 1957 and 1970, and Ethiopia hosting in 1962, 1968, and 1976. East Africa’s successful bid for the 2027 AFCON reflects the region’s growing commitment to football and its desire to showcase its capabilities on the continental stage.