By Elias Meseret
THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia _ The president of the Ethiopian federation questions the impromptu decision by the Confederation of African Football to award Guinea hosting rights for the 2023 African Cup, seemingly without a proper bidding process.
Junedin Basha told The Associated Press on Friday there was nothing on CAF’s agenda for its executive committee meeting last weekend relating to choosing the host for 2023.
“We don’t know what CAF’s consideration was when it selected a host nation for 2023,” Junedin said. There was also no reason for making such a “swift decision.”
CAF President Issa Hayatou announced Guinea as host on Saturday without giving details of the process, saying the spontaneous decision was a display of “solidarity” with the Ebola-hit West African nation.
CAF wasn’t scheduled to choose the 2023 tournament host at the meeting _ which was meant to decide only the 2019 and 2021 winning bids _ and it wasn’t clear if any other countries were considered for 2023.
“CAF wanted to show solidarity with the people of Guinea in this hard time,” Hayatou said as an explanation.
Ethiopia was bidding to host the 2017 African Cup after Libya pulled out citing security concerns, but was targeting 2023 should its 2017 attempt fail.
Cameroon was announced as 2019 host and Ivory Coast the 2021 host at the end of the two-day executive committee meeting. CAF is meant to award African Cup hosting rights through a vote of its executive committee.
Guinea has never staged the African Cup, and is currently banned from hosting games because of the outbreak of the deadly Ebola virus, which has killed nearly 3,000 people in West Africa. Guinea is one of the hardest-hit countries.