Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) president, Amaju Melvin Pinnick has promised that the continental governing body, Confederation of African Football (CAF) will come out with a credible choice based on merit as the host country for this year’s Africa Cup of Nations.
While hinting that the new host would be made known on Wednesday in Dakar, Senegal, footballlive.ng reports that Pinnick, who is also the first vice-president of CAF, pledged that the selection will be made on merit.
Pinnick further that CAF egg heads will vote for the better qualified of the two candidates, Egypt and South Africa, to host the 2019 AFCON.
This comes after CAF had in November 2018 stripped designated host, Cameroon, of the right to host the 2019 AFCON as a result of delays in construction and security threats.
This year’s edition will be the first to entertain 24 teams, with both South Africa and Egypt rated as credible would-be hosts, having had the pleasure of such on more than two occasions each in the past..
They both have differing strengths with regards to their individual bids to host the 32nd Africa Cup of Nations finals holding this summer.
South Africa hosted and won the 1996 finals that was taken away from Kenya, and then held the 2013 finals (that Nigeria won) after civil strife broke out in designated host nation, Libya, in 2011.
In 2010, South Africa became the first African nation to host the FIFA World Cup and had hosted the FIFA Confederations Cup a year earlier.
Egypt has staged the continent’s football showpiece three times in the past, including hosting and winning the 1986 and 2006 finals.
The country also hosted the FIFA U17 World Cup finals in 1997 and the FIFA U20 World Cup finals in 2009.
Ahead of the imminent verdict Pinnick, who is also president of AFCON Organizing Committee, also said he and the other members have already analysed the strengths of both nations and would expertly advise CAF.
The NFF boss stated further that their recommendation will be made ahead of this Wednesday’s meeting of the CAF Executive Committee that will select the host country.
He added: “The AFCON committee of which I am the chairman has done a SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats) on both bidding countries.
“We will meet on the sideline of the CAF Football Awards to finally decide on the best option and present same to CAF before Wednesday’s meeting.
“The interest of African football is paramount in this. It is important that we get this right so that the selected country can quickly put structures in place for the championship which is only about five months away.”