- Samia says preparations must start now
- Analysts laud superior infrastructure, hospitality, peace
TANZANIA: IT is crystal clear that Tanzania heads to reap big fortunes by co-hosting the African Cup of Nations (AFCON) finals in 2027.
The Confederation of African Football (CAF) has awarded the joint bid of Tanzania, Kenya and Uganda the hosting rights of the 2027 AFCON.
CAF president Patrice Motsepe made the announcement at the executive committee meeting in Cairo, Egypt yesterday, marking the first time in history that the biennial football showpiece will be held in East Africa.
Earlier, the continental football governing body had announced Morocco as the hosts of the 2025 AFCON finals.
“The 2027 edition is going to be beautiful. The commitment and drive made by three presidents of the countries shows how eager the region is to host the event,” Motsepe told a press conference.
Sports ministers Damas Ndumbaro (Tanzania) Ababu Namwamba (Kenya) and Peter Ogwang (Uganda) presented the joint bid to the CAF ExCo in Cairo before the voting.
In her immediate reaction after the success of Pamoja Bid, President Samia Suluhu Hassan has directed the Ministry of Culture, Arts and Sports to effectively supervise the preparation of infrastructure and its associated logistics before the country hosts the finals in 2027.
President Samia stressed on the ministry to ensure the infrastructures’ completeness also include the timely construction of two hyper class arenas in Arusha and Dodoma.
“I thank God for the success and I direct the ministry to ensure construction works of sports infrastructure, including modern sports arenas in Dodoma and Arusha timely and perfectly done,” President Samia tweeted.
And, as noted by economists, sports analysts and scholars Tanzania is better positioned to benefit immensely by co-hosting the prestigious event, buoyed by the sports tourism drive that has played a role in the success of the whole bid to the finals in 2027.
Indeed, AFCON tournaments are an opportunity for hosting countries to market their nation. The rise in tourists during AFCON comes in parallel with increased spending and hence creates a multiplier effect as money circulates through a nation’s economy and helps provide new jobs.
The Minister for Culture, Arts and Sports, Damas Ndumbaro who was in Cairo to campaign for Pamoja Bid noted that winning the co-hosting bid means a lot to Tanzania while at the same time a wakeup call that Tanzania must start preparation for the 2027 AFCON finals now.
“Ministers dealing with sports will meet in Mombasa on October 5th to devise how to stage the best ever AFCON finals,” he said.
The Director of Sports in the ministry of Culture, Arts and Sports, cum economist, Ally Mayay said hosting AFCON finals is a big fortune. He said Tanzania with its superior infrastructure, hospitality and tourist attractions is destined to reap a lot of benefits.
“The focus will be in Tanzania… people will come here with their foreign currencies and enjoy our hospitality and our natural attractions as well,” said Mayay in his reaction to Pamoja Bid’s success adding that peace and tranquility facilitate the Pamoja Bid success.
Similar views were made by Dr Isaac Safari, an economist and lecturer at the Saint Augustine University in Mwanza, who urged Tanzanians to cherish hosting of AFCON finals since it is too beneficial economically and socially.
He noted the areas where Tanzanians head to reap big fortunes as tourism, hospitality while in general hosting AFCON will brand the country’s good image.
“Tanzanians must from now start to plan how to tap the benefits of this opportunity,” he said.
In retrospect, Sports analyst, Godlisten Muro attributed an increased level of sportsmanship and professionalism as the country’s major achievement and that played a role in shaping Tanzanian image at the moment.
Citing an example, Muro said the success of the national team; Taifa Stars and Dar es Salaam giants; Simba and Young Africans in the CAF-Interclub competitions attributed to the development of the whole sport industry.
He said the two clubs’ impressive performance in regional and continental levels has contributed much in winning the co-hosting bid.
Mr Muro said it is time now for the country to design concrete promotion strategies on the infrastructure available including stadiums, hotels and hospitals to attract more funs across Africa.
Additionally, the President of Football Kenya Federation, Nick Mwendwa said shortly after the Pamoja Bid was given the nod by CAF that preparations must start early.
“The work begins now. Winning the bid is the first step, it’s complicated, we fought through to win and be on top of the pile but it’s not to be celebrated because the work is just begging”.
“Everybody has to pull together and get the tournament going so that we don’t lose it like we have done before. Let’s bring pamoja home”.
In the Pamoja bid (Tanzania, Kenya and Uganda) book, there was only one CAF certified stadium in Benjamin Mkapa Stadium in Tanzania.
Kenya and Uganda proposed two more stadiums each to augment the substandard ones they earmarked as potential venues.