CAN 2025: Morocco or Algeria? CAF’s conundrum

By Alexis Billebault

Posted on Wednesday, 15 March 2023 15:35
CAF President Patrice Motsepe in Rabat, July 2022 ©Jalal Morchidi/Anadolu Agency via AFP

There is a new twist about which country will host the 2025 African Cup of Nations (CAN), initially scheduled to be announced in February. Although CAF chair Patrice Motsepe was expected to reveal the name in Kigali on 16 March, it looks like that will not be the case.  

At the Confédération Africaine de Football (CAF), chaired by Patrice Motsepe, the 16 March option had held sway for several weeks. During informal conversations, many behind the scenes of African football had seriously considered it. But in the end, the name of the host country for the CAN 2025 will not be announced at the upcoming FIFA Congress in Kigali.

The idea was to take advantage of the crowds during the re-election of Gianni Infantino as FIFA president to convene the CAF Executive Committee, which must decide between Algeria, Morocco, Zambia and the duo Nigeria-Benin. This option was abandoned, for several reasons.

Audit firm

Firstly, the CAF Executive Committee has not yet received the various reports made by an independent audit firm (whose name is kept secret) in all the candidate countries that are to organise the flagship competition.

This piece of information was confirmed to us by CAF secretary general Veron Mosengo-Omba. The confederation had hoped to settle the issue during the first quarter of 2023, but the choice of the firm took longer than expected.

In addition, in March, the African federations and their presidents, some of whom are members of the CAF Executive Committee, will be occupied with the third and fourth rounds of the qualifications for CAN 2024 in Côte d’Ivoire, which will take place between 22 and 28 March.

“We can envisage three options for the host country announcement: via video conference, as we regularly do, a meeting at CAF headquarters in Cairo, or a decision at the 13 July General Assembly in Cotonou,” the president of a sub-Saharan federation said.

“But we have the impression that CAF doesn’t know how to get itself out of this situation, especially because Morocco and Algeria are candidates, and relations between them are very tense”.

Mohammed VI expected in Kigali

In addition, King Mohammed VI was invited to Kigali to receive, on 14 March, the CAF president’s Outstanding Achievement Award 2022, which he will share with Rwanda’s President Paul Kagame.

“Even if CAF had had the inspection reports on its desk, it would not have taken the risk of designating the host of [2025] CAN in Kigali after announcing the award to the king of Morocco.

“Morocco is the favourite and the Algerians are watching for the slightest sign that Rabat is on deck, so it wouldn’t have been a good idea in terms of timing,” said another African federation official.

It looks like the suspense will be ongoing.

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