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The Pamoja East Africa’s 2027 AFCON Joint Bid Is A Reality

Nsereko H Kawuma Afriqana

CECAFA members Uganda, Kenya, and Tanzania declared a joint interest in bidding to host the Total Energies Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) 2027.

The Confederation of African Football (CAF) in a communication on April 27th, 2023 announced that they had received a declaration of interest from six countries including the three East African nations.

Though the FUFA President Eng. Moses Magogo had earlier hinted at Uganda joining one of East Africa’s countries to bid for AFCON, many took him for granted until the news was released by CAF for the joint bid of the three East African countries.

 The news left many people inquisitive about how a country like Uganda with no CAF or FIFA approved stadium bid to host the most prestigious football competition on the continent.

The infrastructure required to host such an event can be demanding for any nation. CAF requirements for hosting the AFCON indicate that a country(s) needs six stadiums, with two that can hold 40,000 fans, another two that can hold 20,000 fans and two that can hold at least 15,000 fans.

In this case, since it is a trio intending to host, each should have two standard stadiums to make the six required. Kenya needs to renovate Nyayo and Kasarani stadiums, Tanzania with Benjamin Mkapa and Chamanzi Stadium then Uganda with Mandela National Stadium and upgrade any of St Mary’s Stadium Kitende, Kakyeeka, Buhinga, Akii Bua, Kakindu plus the Mbale Municipal Stadium or construct a new one.

One of the conditions given by CAF to approve the bid is the government’s commitment to inject money into the construction and renovation of the infrastructure because no FA has the ability to carry the weight.

The good news is that the governments are ready and devoted to meeting the CAF requirements. In late April, Sports Ministers from Uganda, Kenya, and Tanzania met to find the way forward on how best they can support their bid.

In early May, Federation Presidents of FUFA (Uganda), FKF (Kenya), and TFF (Tanzania) met in Arusha after the African Union Sports Ministers Meeting to discuss and lay strategies for the joint bid to the AFCON 2027.

On Friday, a delegation led by the Deputy Speaker of Parliament Rt Hon. Thomas Tayebwa in the company of the State Minister for Sports Hon. Peter Ogwang, FUFA President Eng Moses Magogo plus a delegation from the National Council of Sports and FUFA presented the Pamoja joint bid to the President of the Uganda HE Yoweri Kaguta Museveni and the First Lady who also serves as the Minister of Education and Sports Janet Kataha Museveni.

After meeting the President, the delegation flew to the CAF Head Quarters in  Egypt to present the bid together with other East African Countries of Kenya and Tanzania.  

Apart from the stadiums, the host countries should be able to have good and enough accommodation to cater for the teams and the visiting fans. Which I think the three East African Countries already have in existence compared to some earlier hosts like Gabon.  We only need to pray that the status of our roads gets improved before 2027.

In addition to infrastructure, security is a big concern for those with intentions to host AFCON, with host countries and cities seeing an influx of visitors during the tournament.

CAF is yet to confirm a host for the 2027 edition, which could provide a better opportunity for less economically developed countries with a reasonable amount of time to plan and prepare for such an event.

My humble appeal to all Ugandans is to support the bid of hosting the prestigious tournament in Uganda and the region in general.

One of the best experiences of my life is being at the AFCON 2019 which was hosted by Egypt. I can’t wait to see AFCON in the Pearl of Africa come 2027.

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