Ethiopia Joins Bids to Host the 2029 Africa Cup of Nations

Ethiopia has thrown its hat into the ring to host the prestigious Africa Cup of Nations in either 2029 or 2031.

Minister of Culture and Sports, Mr. Kejela Merdasa, has announced ambitious plans to prepare the country for this significant event, emphasizing the need for at least six standard stadiums to ensure its success.

Mr. Merdasa highlighted the challenges Ethiopia faces in meeting the rigorous standards set by the Confederation of African Football (CAF).

Despite the nation’s rich history in football, Ethiopia currently lacks stadiums that meet CAF’s requirements, forcing the national team to play its matches abroad for major tournaments like the AFCON and World Cup qualifiers.

The minister explained that CAF’s evolving standards have posed obstacles for Ethiopia, necessitating the construction or renovation of stadiums to match international benchmarks.

While Ethiopia has stadiums in each of its regions, none meet CAF’s standards. The construction of the Adey Ababa Stadium in the capital, Addis Ababa, with a proposed capacity of 62,000 spectators, has faced delays due to various reasons, further complicating Ethiopia’s bid to host the AFCON.

Despite these challenges, Ethiopia boasts a rich footballing history. As one of the founding countries of the Africa Cup of Nations, Ethiopia clinched victory in the tournament’s inaugural edition in 1962, defeating Egypt in the final.

The nation participated in subsequent tournaments, finishing fourth in 1968. However, due to a prolonged absence from the competition, Ethiopia had to wait until 2013, when it qualified for the AFCON organized by South Africa.

In total, Ethiopia has participated in the Africa Cup of Nations nine times, securing one championship and one fourth-place finish. However, the team has struggled to advance beyond the group stages in most competitions.

Looking ahead, Ethiopia is determined to overcome its challenges and showcase its passion for football by hosting the Africa Cup of Nations.

As preparations continue, the nation aims to fulfill CAF’s standards and provide an unforgettable experience for football fans across the continent.

In related news, the North African country Morocco is set to host the AFCON in 2025, while Ivory Coast successfully hosted the tournament in 2023, emerging victorious by defeating Nigeria in a thrilling final match.

The AFCON has seen illustrious winners over the years, with Egypt leading the pack with seven titles, followed by Cameroon with five, Ghana with four, and Nigeria and Côte d’Ivoire with three each.

Notable players from various nations have left their mark on the tournament, with Cameroon’s Samuel Eto’o holding the record for most goals scored, tallying an impressive 18 goals. Ethiopia’s Mengistu Worku also earned a place in the tournament’s history, netting 10 goals.

By ethionegari@gmail.com

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