Can Nigeria Host The Nations Cup, Again?

Nigeria last hosted the Nations Cup in 1980 as a sole host before it partnered with Ghana for the 2000 edition

Nigeria last won its third Nations Cup title last year 2013 in South Africa when the Southern African nation hosted its 2 AFCON tournament. Of every team that has won the tournament more than once; Egypt (6), Cameroon (4), Ghana (4), Congo (2); only Nigeria and Cameroon have hosted it just once as a sole host, except for Congo which has never hosted before.

The last time Nigeria staged the prestigious competition was in 2000 when it co-hosted with West African neighbour, Ghana; that being the first African Cup of nations tournament to ever hold within two countries

It was later repeated in 2012 between Gabon and Equitorial Guniea

The first time Nigeria hosted, it won; led by Brazillian coach Otto Gloria, the Green Eagles as they were known then, beat Algeria 3-0 in the final, they later would lose to the same Desert Foxes 1-0  ten years after in Algiers

Tunisia hosted in 1994, there Nigeria against all odds, overcame a resilient Zambian team which was going through a tragic time after a plane carrying Chipolopo players crashed in 1993; Zambia beefed up its team, months to the kick-off of the tournament

One man Kalusha Bwalya was the star of the tournament and would have won the championship for the Southern African, first time in their history, but Emmanuel Amuneke would not have that happen

Amuneke came off the bench to score a brace to cancel an earlier Bwalya goal, which sealed Nigeria’s second AFCON triumph

In 2000, Nigeria co-hosted with Ghana, since it could not provide the standard facilities and amenities for the tournament alone; Games were played across Lagos and Accra, teams flying between the two nations

Nigeria was the better of the two hosts, reaching the final and losing controversially to the Indomitable Lions of Cameroon

That was to be Cameroon’s beginning on a trail of successive AFCON championships

Hitherto, the final in Lagos, the indomitables had won the tournament twice in 1984 and 1988 when Ivory Coast and Morocco hosted

They later went on to win Mali 2002, beating the Teranga Lions of Senegal

Now Super Eagles, Nigeria won its third title in Johannesburg, South Africa in a keenly contested final against a tough fighting Burkna Faso team; thank goodness for a Sunday Mba goal

Qulaifications for AFCON 2015 begin on September 4 across the African continent, the tournament billed to hold in Morocco will be the second time the North African nation after it first hosted in 1988

Ghana has already indicated interest to host the next one in 2017, which if they win, it would make them the country with most hosting

Nigeria lacks the basic infrastructure and facilities to host the Nations Cup; over the years, CAF has upgraded in its criteria to qualify as a host, with much emphasis on stadia, health, and transportation

Nigerian stadia are below standard and poorly managed, they can hardly host premier league games,save that the clubs have no choice but to play, even against safety rules

However, it hosted the World Youth Championship in 2007, and if it could host a FIFA tournament, with proper management of those facilities which are reportedly in a maintained state, it might just bid for the 2019 nations cup and probably win the right.


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