The 2019 Africa Cup of Nations will take place in either Egypt or South Africa after it was confirmed both countries have made bids to host the tournament.
The Confederation of African Football (CAF) announced both bids on Saturday and said their executive committee will decide the new host at a meeting to be held in Dakar, Senegal on January 9.
Egypt and South Africa are bidding to replace Cameroon as host of next year’s African Cup of Nations and the winner will have just five months to put preparations in place for the continent’s top soccer tournament.
That date, which was pushed back from December 31 will give the chosen host limited time to prepare for a tournament which is scheduled to kick off on June 15, and is the first to be increased from 16 to 24 teams.
Although Egypt and South Africa have the best soccer infrastructure in Africa, organising a tournament at such short-notice still promises to be a challenge for both countries.
South Africa hosted the continent’s first World Cup in 2010 and already has world-class stadiums in place from that tournament.
The African soccer body still needs to decide that if South Africa’s bid was successful whether they would automatically qualify for the tournament as the host nation.
Egypt has already qualified but South African still has a final qualifier to play in March.
CAF has still not decided if Cameroon, the defending African champion, will retain its place at the tournament as the original host.