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Afcon 2017: Zambia snubs Zimbabwe co-hosting bid
19/09/2014 00:00:00
by Sports Reporter I Agencies
 
 
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ZAMBIA has rejected Zimbabwe’s proposal to co-host the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations.

Football Association of Zambia vice-president Boniface Mwamelo said the Zimbabwe Football Association’s proposal to co-host the 2017 tournament after Libya pulled out was impractical as Zambia would be hosting the Africa Youth Championships in the same year.

Last week, Zimbabwe Football Association ZIFA officials were reported to have met FAZ general secretary George Kasengele and Zambia Tourism Board officials over the possibility of the two countries co-hosting the event.

But Mwamelo said FAZ’s strategy had always been to target the 2019 AfCON.

“It is totally out of the question. Even representatives of Botswana FA approached us on the possibility of 2017 co-hosting. It’s something we can’t even contemplate because in 2017 we are hosting the Africa Youth Championships and that requires resources,” he said.

Meanwhile, all eyes will be on the Africa Union headquarters building in Addis Ababa Saturday afternoon as the CAF executive committee meets to decide on the host nations for the 2019 and 2021 tournaments.

Algeria, Cameroon, Guinea and Ivory Coast also want to host the 2019 tournament and Algeria, Guinea and Ivory Coast are contenders for the 2021 championship.

The Confederation of African Football (CAF) executive committee led by president Issa Hayatou from Cameroon will vote Saturday in Ethiopia to decide the two hosts.

Mwamelo said he was optimistic that Zambia’s bid to host the 2019 edition would be successful with the spectacular Victoria Falls waterfall part of the package Zambia are offering to stage the tournament.

He the government’s commitment towards hosting the continent’s biggest soccer showpiece make Zambia favourites to win the bid.

“We are optimistic that our bid will succeed. The commitment shown by the government and the Zambian people in staging the AfCON 2019 should make us among favourites,” he said.

Mwamelo said the country would greatly benefit from hosting the event.

“The benefits are immense social and economic. Using AfCON, we should be able to market as a tourist destination. The construction industry will expand as we put up infrastructure and this will create employment opportunities for our people,” said Mwamelo.



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The country’s deputy sports minister Christopher Mulenga said it was only fair that CAF awards Zambia the right to host the 2019 AfCON.

Mulenga said the government was eager to host the tournament for the first time.

“We hope that this time we will be given the opportunity. We deserve it to host such kind of a high-profile tournament like AfCON. It will bring us a lot of benefits,” said Mulenga.

“We are working very hard to put infrastructure together for ensuring that the tournament is run smoothly. It will just be fair for CAF to give it to Zambia. We have high hopes of that.”

Zambia proposed six venues including Livingstone, a town that overlooks the Victoria Falls, one of the seven wonders of the world.

A ground beside the Falls would challenge Cape Town Stadium, a 2010 World Cup venue lying in the shadow of Table Mountain, as the African football venue with the most spectacular backdrop.

Another boost for the Zambian bid was the recent opening of a Chinese-built 50,000-seat National Heroes Stadium in capital Lusaka.

Zambia have proposed six venues for a tournament needing a minimum of four, Cameroon five and Algeria, Guinea and Ivory Coast four each.


 
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