The Confederation of African Football (CAF) Executive will sit in Dakar – Senegal on Tuesday to announce the new 2019 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) host.
The showpiece was initially scheduled for Cameroon but the country was stripped of the hosting rights late last year for unpreparedness. Cameroon has since accepted to welcome the 2021 edition as a compensation.
Two countries, Egypt and South Africa, expressed interest to step in and salvage the 2019 tournament and they duly submitted their bids to stage the first ever 24-team championship.
On paper South Africa’s bid is superior owing to fact that they hosted the 2010 World Cup and still have the necessary infrastructure to successfully deliver the expended AFCON.
Egypt is however highly tipped to land the 2019 rights. According to close sources, the decision on who will stage the next tournament will largely be based what the broadcast partner, Bein Sports, feel will bring them more returns.
Going to South Africa, according to one source, would be more expensive to the Qatari company as the country is generally expensive in terms of services like accommodation…as compared to Egypt.
But more importantly Bein Sports will have to pay a third party to produce the games which is deemed expensive and will eat into their profit margins.
Bein have stronger footprints in Northern Africa, making their operations easier in the region.
Politically the company is not welcome in Egypt but they have managed to go around the thorny issue by partnering ON Sport, a local TV company to help them with production, according to reports.
June/July being South African winter season has also worked against their bid with some feeling that most African teams will not cope with the weather conditions and fans may shy away from attending matches.
A perceived bad blood between CAF boss Ahmad and South Africa FA president Danny Jordaan may also come into play in this crucial decision.
Jordaan recently lost a FIFA Council member vote to little known Walter Nyamilandu of Malawi, leaving a bitter pill to swallow in the mouth of his supporters.
Nyamilandu, a former Malawi Flames international, is said to have enjoyed backing of the powers that be at CAF, who wanted Jordaan floored.
Since then there has been an unofficial online campaign for Jordaan to challenge Ahmad for the top seat during the next CAF election.
Egypt last hosted the AFCON in 2006 but since then there has been a ban on fans following the deadly Port Said riot in 2012 which saw over 70 fans dead.
The government has since tightly controlled the number of fans in the stadiums. CAF wants the ban totally lifted but the government is said to be willing to allow just 5000 per game during the tournament.
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