Zimbabwe is no longer in the running to host the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations finals after missing out the deadline set by the Confederation of African Football (Caf).
The deadline was Thursday at midnight and on Saturday Caf announced that only three countries — South Africa, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Morocco — had bid to host the 2015 and 2017 editions.
“The Confederation of African Football announces the closure of the application of bids for the hosting rights for the 2015 and 2017 Orange Africa Cup of Nations.
“The deadline for the submission of applications of the two tournaments was Friday, September 30, 2010 at midnight.
“The Caf administration has registered the following three (3) applications from its Member Associations: RD Congo, Morocco and South Africa.”
The hosting rights for the 30th and 31st editions of the continent’s showpiece football event will be determined by the Caf executive committee at a meeting to be decided in 2011.
Gabon and Equatorial Guinea will jointly host the 2012 edition and Libya in 2013 as holding of the competition moves into odd years.
Zimbabwe controversially lost the 2000 hosting bid to Nigeria and Ghana when Africa’s football governing body, Caf, having already confirmed the southern African country as the hosts, said it was not convinced the stadiums would be ready in time.
Zimbabwe later bid for the 2004 finals and lost to Tunisia. Then Zifa chairman Wellington Nyatanga said last September that Zimbabwe had submitted its bid for 2014.
That was before a decision to change the calendar to odd years to avoid it running in the same year as the World Cup was made.
Two weeks ago, Zifa president Cuthbert Dube said they would bid for the 2015 edition, but that dream has not been shattered.
Dube was actually the chairman of the 2010 Afcon bid committee from 2005 to 2006. In fact, in his campaign manifesto, Dube said it was his dream to host Caf and Fifa competitions in a bid to “rebrand and profile the association and Zimbabwe in general”.
Earlier this month, Education, Sport and Culture minister David Coltart announced that the government was looking at building two stadiums for the hosting of the 2015 tournament.
“As government we are in the process of facilitating for the hosting of the 2015 Nations Cup event,” said Coltart.
“We need to build two more stadiums. You think we cannot do that between now and then? It’s possible. We can do that,” he further declared.
Caf requires that a hosting country should have at least four stadiums in four different cities.
Sudan hosted the first edition of the Africa Cup of Nations in 1957 and 15 others have since hosted the biggest African football event.
Egypt have hosted 4 times (1959, 1974, 1986, 2006), Ghana also four times (1963, 1978, 2000 [co-host with Nigeria 2008]), with Ethiopia and Tunisia each three times in (1962, 1968, 1976) and (1965, 1994 and 2004) respectively.
Sudan has hosted twice (1957, 1970) equal to Nigeria (1980, 2000 [co-host with Ghana]).
Ten (10) countries, namely, Algeria (1990), Burkina Faso (1998), Cameroon (1972), Libya (1982), Cote d’Ivoire (1984), Mali (2002), Morocco (1988), Senegal (1992), South Africa (1996) and Angola (2010) have all hosted once.