The Confederation of African Football (CAF) has backed Rwanda to host the Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) finals after successfully hosting the 2016 Orange Africa Nations’ Championship (CHAN).
The CAF Secretary General, Hicham El Amrani told KT Sports on Monday before departing for Cairo, Egypt that Rwanda has surprised many following the successful host of the CHAN final.
Hicham said that Rwanda has exhibited ability to organize the senior Africa Cup of Nations in the near future.
“We are proud of how Rwanda hosted the 2016 CHAN; there’s been a big improvement in organisation of the event. CAF is very happy with how Rwanda has organised the tournament, which makes it a candidate to host the AFCON,”
The Moroccan, who was appointed CAF secretary general in September 2011, added that, “The organisation has been high level. We are very happy, and proud of the improvements. If you compare the U20 in 2009 and U17 (both held in Rwanda), there’s a big improvement.”
The CAF vice-president Almamy Kabele Camara affirmed that Rwanda had shown that they were ready to host Afcon, a tournament that has the same requirements as Chan.
“The expectations regarding hosting Afcon are the same as those for hosting Chan. Rwanda has blown us away with the level of organisation at Chan 2016,” Camara said earlier.
“Everything from the infrastructure to transport, security, telecommunications, accommodation and food, everything has been great. Everyone from Caf, participating teams and fans have appreciated the good work.”
“It is now up to the Rwanda Government and football officials to bid for Afcon and we shall look into it, but I believe Rwanda can host Afcon.”
Meanwhile, the Rwanda Football Association (FERWAFA) president, Vincent Nzamwita, who was the head of the CHAN 2016 Local Organising Committee, has admitted that Rwanda will consider hosting AFCON in future.
This is the third time Rwanda has hosted a major football tournament following the African Youth U-20 Championships in 2009 and the U17 version in 2011.
With the next four editions already allocated to mostly West Africa, Rwanda will be looking to become the first East African nation to host Afcon since its inception in 1957 when it was hosted in Sudan.
Gabon will host the next Afcon in 2017 before Cameroon hosts the 2019 edition and Ivory Coast and Guinea host the 2021 and 2023 editions. The 2025 edition is the ‘nearest’ one that Rwanda can bid for.
Ethiopia, in the Horn of Africa, was an Afcon venue in 1962, 1968 and 1976 with the following editions being shared mostly between West and North Africa.
South Africa (1996 and 2013) and Angola (2010) are the only southern African nations that have hosted Africa’s biggest football competition.