Wednesday September 27, 2023, the verdict is in, Morocco will organize the 2025 Africa Cup of Nations, winning against three other candidacies: that of Algeria, Zambia and the Nigeria – Benin duo. Morocco will host the CAN 2025, 35 years after that of 1988. It was to organize the CAN 2015 but withdrew its candidacy due to fears linked to the spread of the Ebola virus.
35 years, an eternity for a country so culminating in sporting terms, so important on the African continent. And if the result is a blessing for the Moroccan people and the African continent which rejoices in this unanimously African distinction, it is also the crowning achievement of the laudable work of a model country in the development of sport and also in sports diplomacy carried out actively by the president of the Royal Moroccan Football Federation (FRMF), Faouzi Lekjaâ and his team. But on the Algerian side, the story is somewhat different, mixed with hatred and conspiracy theories, a mixture of shame and bitterness which ended with an event as ridiculous as it was predictable: the withdrawal of the candidacy of Algeria, on September 26, 2023 for the organization of CAN 2025 and 2027, one day before the announcement of the organizing countries.
Before discussing this withdrawal symptomatic of a cowardly and desperate maneuver, let’s turn the clocks back one year: in August 2022, CAF withdraws Guinea from hosting the CAN 2025 after noting irremediable delays in construction. of their six stages. In September 2025, CAF called for other applications to replace Guinea in 2025, at which point four applications were submitted, including those of Morocco and Algeria.
In March 2023, rumors in the corridors reported the first results of the infrastructure audit report mandated by the CAF and carried out by a Franco-German audit firm. According to initial reports, Morocco would have obtained completely extraordinary results and would have a considerable lead over the other candidates. With 85 points out of 100, Morocco completely crushed the competition.
In addition, with 24 training grounds made available to the different participating nations, i.e. one training ground per nation, Morocco is achieving something absolutely unprecedented even for a European country, since never an organizing country (in Europe or elsewhere) had made available to each participant an exclusive training ground. For comparison, during the last CAN, Cameroon made six training grounds available to the participating countries, i.e. one field for four teams…
Feeling the tide turning and defeat approaching, Algeria announced in April 2023, to everyone’s surprise, that it was a candidate not only for the 2025 edition, but also for the 2027 edition. It thus attempted to fall back on the 2027 edition to save face.
In July 2023, Algeria, although resigned in the face of Morocco’s exceptional record, nevertheless attempted the diplomatic approach by trying to have its president of the FAF (Algerian Football Federation) elected to the executive committee of the CAF in order to have a voice in the vote and be able to influence, as much as possible, the vote of other members. Result: a bitter failure and a disconcerting defeat for the Algerian Djahid Zfizef against the Libyan Abdelhakim Al-Shalmani (38 votes to 15), which pushed him to resign from his post a few days later. It was the first blow to Algeria’s candidacy.
And the president of CAF drives the point home. He will mention this relatively little-known rule which establishes the principle of rotation by sub-regions in the organization of CANs and which in fact prohibits the possible organization of two consecutive CANs in the same region. ”Each sub-region has its final phase”, he insisted in an official declaration in August 2023. Thus, Morocco by winning the CAN 2025 under the nose of Algeria, it thereby deprives it of the CAN 2027 because of the rotation system. She would have to wait another ten years, poor thing, before hoping to host such an African meeting.
And the final straw: on September 25, 2023, a meeting was held between Algerian President Abdelmadjid Tebboune and the new elected president of the FAF Walid Sadi. And it was at the end of this tête-à-tête, the day before the verdict, that Algeria’s withdrawal from the organization of the two CAN 2025-2027 was ratified on the grounds that ”the FAF wishes to concentrate its efforts on the reorganization and revitalization of football in Algeria”. Isn’t that hilarious? Algeria has been a candidate for a year, and on the eve of the verdict, it remembered that it must concentrate its efforts on the reorganization of Algerian football! What deceit! As bad losers, Tebboune and his government did not have the courage to accept their failure. They had the choice between dishonor and defeat, they chose dishonor and they also had defeat!