Information reaching us has it that the inability of South Africa’s national team, the Bafana Bafana, to qualify for the continental football tournament even with a game in hand was a major factor that robbed the South Africa the chance to stage the tournament for the third time ahead of the Egypt who finally got the nod to host the event for a record fifth time.
Egypt it was reported won the right to host the event with 16-1 votes. It is the first time any country will be winning the hosting right with such margin. Before the announcement of Egypt as the host of the AFCON 2019, there were concerns that giving the rights to South Africa might raise a technical problem if Libya qualifies in March. That is likely going to increase the field to 25 as Cameroon, the original host country has already secured a ticket to the final.
In the last qualifying matches slated for March, South Africa must avoid defeat to host Libya to win the Group B runner up slot behind Nigeria who topped the pack with a game to spare. Last December, Cameroon was stripped of the right to host the 2019 African Cup of Nations due to both serious delays in its preparations for the finals and the persistence of a violent separatist uprising close to two of the planned venues.
The AFCON 2019 is scheduled to take place from June 15 to July 13, having been moved from January/February to avoid club-versus-country clashes. It would be recalled that Egypt staged the event in 1959, 1974, 1986 and 2006 they won 7-6 on penalties in the final match against Côte D’ Ivoire with Didier Drogba the only player to miss his kick on the night at the 75,000 capacity Cairo International Stadium.