— Published 3 October 2022

Guinea loses CAN, Algeria wants it

The threat had been in the air for several months. The Confederation of African Football (CAF) announced last weekend through its president, Patrice Motsepe, its decision to withdraw the organisation of the African Cup of Nations (CAN) in 2025 from Guinea. According to the South African leader, who travelled to Conakry to inform the ruling junta, nothing was ready in Guinea to host the continental tournament. “The infrastructure and facilities are not suitable or ready,” he told the media. Guinea was initially chosen by CAF to host the 2023 edition, after a triple award in 2014: Cameroon in 2019, Ivory Coast in 2021 and Guinea in 2023. After Egypt withdrew the organisation of the 2019 CAN, CAF shifted the calendar. Guinea had agreed to organise the 2025 edition. But the challenge of hosting a tournament of this size quickly proved insurmountable. Guinea has a recent stadium in Conakry, but none in the rest of the country. The ruling junta had assured CAF that it would build several, but construction has barely begun. At the end of August, the head of state, Colonel Doumbouya, signed a decree declaring the organisation of the 2025 African Cup of Nations “of national interest and priority“. It was too late. According to Patrice Motsepe, the decision was taken in July. It now remains for CAF to find a new host country. The continental body, whose executive committee met last Saturday in Algiers, says it has received expressions of interest from a dozen countries. One of them has made itself known: Algeria. The president of the Algerian Football Federation (FAF), Zefizef Djahid, announced last weekend at a press conference that his country would be a candidate. Morocco, Nigeria and Senegal are also said to be in the running.