Why Nigeria Lost 2025 AFCON Bid To Morocco


Nigeria’s joint bid with the Republic of Benin has failed to sail through as the Confederation of African Football (CAF) announced Morocco as the host for the 2025 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) while Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania have been named joint hosts of the 2027 tournament. 

The winners were announced yesterday after the voting session by members of the Confederation of African Football (CAF) committee led by its President, Patrice Motsepe at Marriott Hotel in the Zamalek area of downtown Cairo. 

Morocco won by 22 votes, with their challengers, including Algeria who reportedly withdrew from the race a few months ago, getting no vote. 

However, it was on Tuesday evening that the president of the Algerian Football Federation officially announced his country’s withdrawal from the race which CAF rejected. 

This is the first time Morocco will be hosting AFCON since they first did in 1988 when they finished in fourth position. CAF’s decision to settle for Morocco is not surprising going by the country’s heavy investments in sporting infrastructure in the last 20 years. 

Morocco boasts many world-class stadiums and has successfully hosted numerous African and world football tournaments and has been a preferred destination for football tournaments lately with the Women’s AFCON and the U-23 AFCON all taking place in the country. 

It will be recalled that CAF needed a new host for 2025 after Guinea was stripped of the rights in October last year due to fears about the readiness of facilities. 

Yesterday in Cairo, no vote was required as a joint bid from Nigeria and Benin Republic, as well as candidacies from Algeria and Zambia, were all withdrawn leaving Morocco as the only contender. 

Morocco had unsuccessfully bid for the FIFA World Cup five times and the North African nation will see the decision as a boost to their hopes of co-hosting the 2030 World Cup with Portugal and Spain. 

Prior to the voting, Motsepe had said the successful replacement for Guinea would offer the best “Transport, logistics, hotels and beautiful stadiums”. 

According to him, “Each region will have a chance to organise a Cup of Nations; we cannot assign the organisation of the tournament successively to the same region.” 

This, however, seemed to count against Benin and Nigeria, because another West African nation, Ivory Coast, will host the next edition next year. 

 “I am very proud of Morocco. Morocco’s competing countries (for the 2025 tournament) — Algeria, Zambia and Nigeria-Benin — announced their withdrawal, even if these countries still made their presentation. 

“The main reason is to support Morocco in its candidacy for the 2030 World Cup,” jointly with Spain and Portugal, said CAF President, Patrice Motsepe after naming the successful hosts in Cairo. 

Nigeria’s failure to win the bid comes after the Minister of Sports Development, Senator John Owan Enoh arrived in Egypt on Tuesday with representatives of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) to bid to host AFCON. 

It was gathered that the last time Nigeria co-hosted the AFCON was in 2000 alongside Ghana. The Super Eagles lost the final of that tournament 4-3 on penalties to Cameroon. Prior to that tournament, Nigeria had hosted the 1980 AFCON, defeating Algeria 3-0 in the finals. 

So, Nigeria, having hosted two times, went into the poll with other potential hosts confident of securing the rights. However, the federal government delegation led by Enoh, was left disappointed in Cairo when CAF revealed the winner of the coveted hosting rights.

House c’ttee chair, Ekene, knocks failed bid 

In his reaction, the Chairman House of Representatives Committee on Sports, Hon. Ekene Adams Abubakar has said Nigeria’s bid was not a priority for the country. 

“We are not kicking against bidding for the Nations Cup, but I am against the timing of such a step in relation to our current economic realities, which every one of us is not ignorant of. 

“As someone who has the fear of God, I can tell you for free that now that we are talking about hosting the Nations Cup, it has to do with building new facilities, and renovating stadiums but all of these are only beneficial to us, the stakeholders and politicians to make more money. 

“I don’t think we mean well for the common man if this is our current priority as a government.” 

According to him, “The common man can hardly feed three times a day with the effect of the subsidy and it will not be good to hide under the guise of sports and things like this to enrich ourselves at the expense of Nigerians. 

“For example, the palliatives the National Assembly approved for Nigerians to cushion the effect of the subsidy hardship has not gotten to Nigerians across the country and the only thing we the stakeholders are concerned about now is wanting to host the AFCON. 

“And after spending so much money to host this AFCON, we will then leave the facilities dilapidated as usual and the lack of maintenance story will continue, which another government will come again to spend so much on and nothing meaningful would have changed,” he said.

“As a lawmaker representing the people, I must also stress that I am an apostle of good change and will not support anything I know will not benefit the common man.”


Lumumba doubts strength of bid 

The Chairman of the 2010 AFCON Bid Committee, Hon. Lumumba Dah Adeh said he was disappointed that for the second time, Nigeria failed to win the bid to host the continental showpiece. 

He said that it takes a lot to present a strong bid that will convince CAF so it was possible that those who bid for the 2025 AFCON on behalf of the country didn’t do a thorough job. 

“This is the second time we have failed to win the bid to host the AFCON. In 2010, when I was the chairman of the bid committee, we lost to Angola because the then president, Isa Hayatou who wanted another term in office, desperately needed the votes from the Southern Africa block. Our bid was no doubt well packaged but politics consumed it. 

“I doubt if those who handled the present bid did exactly what we were able to do in our time. Was there the much needed government approval and support? 

“There is no need to cry over spilled milk but the government can ask questions to find out how the bidding process was handled,” said the former lawmaker from Plateau State. 

Also speaking, a former Katsina State Director of Sports, Aliyu Kofar-Soro said he was disappointed that Nigeria failed to win the bid because it would have helped to improve the economy of most Nigerians. 

According to him, Nigerians’ micro businesses would have witnessed a boost due to the influx of visitors into the country within the period of the championship. 

“I was actually looking forward to the emergence of Nigeria as the host of the 2025 AFCON. Unfortunately, that didn’t happen. 

“If it were successful, Nigerian businessmen would have benefitted immensely. The AFCON is a big tournament that usually attracts so many fans across the continent. 

“However, I am not too disappointed because Nigeria’s economy is ailing and the money that would have gone into organising the championship can be channeled into projects that can help alleviate the sufferings of the citizens,” said Kofar-Soro.

Daily Trust 


Chris Kehinde Nwandu is the Editor In Chief of CKNNEWS || He is a Law graduate and an Alumnus of Lagos State University, Lead City University Ibadan and Nigerian Institute Of Journalism || With over 2 decades practice in Journalism, PR and Advertising, he is a member of several Professional bodies within and outside Nigeria || Member: Institute Of Chartered Arbitrators ( UK ) || Member : Institute of Chartered Mediators And Conciliation || Member : Nigerian Institute Of Public Relations || Member : Advertising Practitioners Council of Nigeria || Fellow : Institute of Personality Development And Customer Relationship Management || Member and Chairman Board Of Trustees: Guild Of Professional Bloggers of Nigeria

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