By The Atlas Lions, Dec 6 2018 02:23PM
December 6 – The Egyptian Football Association (EFA) has pulled out of the bidding race for the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations, saying it “will not compete with another Arabic country.” Morocco and South Africa remain as favourites to host the continent’s flagship competition.
Last week Cameroon were stripped of the tournament’s hosting rights over delays in preparations. CAF president Ahmad Ahmad revealed that the confederation would strive to “determine a new organising country by the end of the year.”
Egypt, Morocco and South Africa soon stepped forwards as potential hosts for the 24-team event. Cameroon, who won the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations defeating Egypt 2-1 in the final, had been awarded the 16-team finals, but CAF then unilaterally increased the number of participants in July 2017 to 24 teams during a symposium held in Morocco.
EFA will however not bid to stage the tournament. “After an EFA meeting on Tuesday, we decided we will not make a bid for the next Afcon,” said EFA board member and spokesman Ahmed Megahed. “We will not compete with another Arabic country – this is an official decision.”
The decision leaves Morocco and South Africa, who have both confirmed an interest in hosting, as two remaining contenders in the bidding race. Egypt last hosted the tournament in 2006 when they won on home soil.
Earlier this year the Moroccans had stepped in to host the African Nations Championship, CHAN, after Kenya had been deemed unfit to host the tournament. Morocco, with their team of home-based players, won the tournament, which was largely considered a success. In June Morocco, however, lost out to the United States, Mexico and Canada for the 2026 World Cup hosting rights. It was the fourth time that the Moroccans had their World Cup dream thwarted.