By Uche Amunike
The Minister of Sports Development, Senator John Owan Enoh, has arrived Cairo, Egypt to attend the Confederation of African Football (CAF) Executive Committee meeting as Nigeria makes plans to host the African Cup of Nations (AFCON), 2027.
Speaking through his official X handle, Tuesday, the Cross River State-born politician, who was appointed Minister of Sports Development by President Bola Tinubu on August 16, stated: ‘With representatives of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF), I have arrived in Cairo, Egypt. We are here to attend the Confederation of African Football (CAF) Executive Committee meeting, as representatives of the Nigerian Government.’
‘Our attendance is because Nigeria and the Benin Republic submitted a joint bid to host AFCON in 2027. Other Governments and Member Associations bidding to host AFCON in 2027 will also be in attendance.’
CAF is expected to make public, the countries that will host the 2025, 2027 and 2029 editions of the tournament, Wednesday, in Cairo. Recall that Nigeria co-hosted the tournament with Ghana in the year, 2000.
The meeting will take place, Wednesday, September 27, 2023 and Senator Enoh will be attending as the representative of the Federal Government of Nigeria, with other delegates, where they will make a presentation on the country’s readiness to host the tournament while in Cairo.
His words: ‘Prior to this meeting, all countries bidding to host this tournament were visited by the Independent Assessment Committees of CAF to assess the state of their readiness to host this continental tournament.’
He further averred: ‘As part of the assessment process, each bidding country is expected to make a 10-minute presentation and will be granted another 15 minutes to respond to questions that may arise.’
‘Thereafter, a comprehensive report would be submitted for assessment and discussion by the CAF Executive. The meeting is slated for Wednesday, 27th September 2023. We look forward to a positive outcome for the Nigeria-Benin Republic joint bid’, he explained.
With him to attend the meeting, are the top executive members of the Nigerian Football Federation (NFF). Among the Nigerian delegation are the NFF President, Alhaji Ibrahim Gusau, the General Secretary, Dr. Mohammed Sanusi and the bid coordinator, Malam Mainasara Ilo. A ten minute presentation will be made by Nigeria to the CAF EXCO members, after which there will be time to answer questions on the readiness to host.
Recall that the only time Nigeria hosted AFCON was in 1980, when Christian Chukwu led the Green Eagles to win the title in the presence of excited home fans, including the former President of Nigeria, Shehu Shagari, when they co-hosted with Ghana. It was a sad experience as the Indomitable Lions of Cameroon claimed the trophy at the National Stadium in Lagos.
After Cameroon hosted the 2021 edition, which was delayed, Cote d’Ivoire will be hosting the 2023 edition, which has been moved to between January and February next year.
The outcome of the meeting will determine if the AFCON 2027 will be co-hosted by Nigeria and the Benin Republic.