East African leaders are basking in the glory of winning the bid to host the 2027 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON). Kenya, Tanzania, and Uganda are popping the champagne corks after securing the privilege of hosting the continent’s premier sporting event, and they’re acting like they just won the World Cup.
This remarkable achievement, if we can call it that, marks the first time three countries will co-host AFCON. Wow, groundbreaking! It’s almost as if Ghana and Nigeria did it in 2000, and Equatorial Guinea and Gabon followed suit in 2012. But let’s not let facts get in the way of a good celebration.
The trio’s victory was sealed after Algeria, the apparent favorites, withdrew at the last minute, citing a “new strategy for developing football.” Sure, let’s call it a strategy, and not a lack of interest or confidence in the bidding process.
Tanzanian President Samia Suluhu Hassan, in a move that surprises absolutely no one, couldn’t resist boasting on social media (formerly known as Twitter) about the win. She also conveniently issued orders for the construction of two new stadiums, probably in an attempt to justify their role as hosts.
Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni jumped on the bandwagon, praising the “good news” and highlighting how this event will supposedly boost their countries’ economies. Because, of course, hosting AFCON is a surefire way to fix everything from tourism to unemployment.
Kenya’s Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua was equally thrilled, as if they’d just discovered a cure for a global pandemic. His comments about working together were especially touching, given the well known history of seamless cooperation among African nations.
Uganda’s minister for sports, Peter Ogwang, hailed the bid as “a great moment.” Apparently, a lack of competition is a great moment now. He also went on about unity and potential, as if this victory was the key to solving all of East Africa’s problems.
Nuur Mohamud Sheekh, a spokesman for the East African regional bloc IGAD, celebrated on social media, proudly displaying the region’s “passion & commitment to sports.” Because nothing says “passion” like winning a bid with no real challengers.