by Philip Richards

Tanzania to co-host African Cup of Nations (AfCON) 2027
Alongside Kenya and Uganda, Tanzania has been selected by the Confederation of African Football (CAF) to co-host the 2027 edition of the African Cup of Nations (AfCON), Africa’s premier international football tournament.

This will be the first time that three countries will co-host the tournament, the first time that any of these three countries have hosted it, and the first time since Ethiopia in 1976 that it has been held in East Africa. “There’s a minimum guarantee of nine completely sold-out home games – a record that has never been achieved before since a single host can only guarantee three home games,” said Rogers Byamukama, a board member of the Federation of Uganda Football Associations (FUFA).

CAF will not be dealing with the host countries individually but as an entity, and soon the three nations are expected to name a joint organising committee. “Even as things stand right now, we have enough stadiums available to host the tournament,” said Byamukama. “Renovating these facilities is a simpler approach than starting from scratch.” He added, however, that all three countries’ government had committed to funding the construction of new stadiums for the tournament.

CAF requires AfCON hosts to have a minimum of six stadiums, two of which must be 40,000-seater and above. Tanzania appears well-prepared in this regard, with Tanzania Football Federation (TFF) president Wallace Karia confirming the Benjamin Mkapa Stadium in Dar es Salaam as their main venue.

The 60,000-seater would be ready to host if the Nations Cup kicked off today, and the stadium was sold out when it hosted the opening match of the inaugural African Football League between Simba and Al Ahly in October, 2023.

In addition, the Uhuru (Kinondoni Municipal) Stadium and Major General Isamuhyo Stadium (“JKT”) – both in Dar es Salaam – are currently undergoing renovations and are expected to be ready next year. Mr Karia also announced the construction of new stadiums in the capital Dodoma and Arusha, presenting already-approved designs, with work scheduled to start in 2024.

It is expected that Zanzibar will be included in the list of host venues, with Zanzibar’s sports minister Tabia Maulid Mwita announcing the Amaan Stadium as a potential host ground. “The stadium has already received a positive nod from CAF but we need to increase its current capacity to 20,000 seats,” he said. “This work is already under way.”

In addition, in September 2024 the same three countries and Zanzibar will all provide one stadium to host the African Nations Championship (CHAN) – a lower-profile tournament involving only players based in their home countries.

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