Egypt on Thursday officially signaled its willingness to take over from Cameroon as hosts of the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations, a day before the deadline for candidates.
The Egyptian Football Association, headed by Hany Abu Reida, sent an official letter to the Confederation of African Football, requesting to host the 2019 AFCON.
Egypt first expressed its interest in hosting the tournament on Wednesday after Morocco – long thought to be interested in standing in for Cameroon – pulled out of contention in a surprise announcement.
“We’ve sent an official letter to CAF after Morocco’s decision not to bid,” Magdy Abdel Ghany, EFA member, said.
“Egypt is capable of hosting the African tournament; but sending the request doesn’t mean that we will host the championship,” Abdel Ghany added.
EFA’s official account on Twitter announced the decision right after Magdy Abdel Ghany’s statement.
“The Egyptian football federation declares its candidacy to host the 2019 African Nations Cup which is scheduled to take place in June and should have been organised by Cameroon which is not prepared to host it,” it said in a statement on Twitter and Facebook.
According to Egypt Today sources, Egypt is bidding for the AFCON with six stadiums: Cairo, Air Defense, Borg el-Arab, Suez, Ismailia and Aswan.
Youth and Sports minister, Ashraf Sobhy, earlier assured that Egypt was ready to host the 2019 AFCON but added that before any decision, EFA would reach an agreement with CAF.
The Confederation of African Football stripped Cameroon of the tournament last month, citing delays in the construction of stadiums and infrastructure projects and question marks over security.
The shortlist of countries bidding to host the tournament is expected to be unveiled on December 25.
The 2019 tournament has been expanded to 24 teams for the first time, up from 16 at the 2017 edition in Gabon.
Egypt have won the competition a record seven times and hosted AFCON four times before in 1957, 1974, 1986 and 2006.