By Owolabi Abiola/First zeal media

• CAF secures massive victory as Ivory Coast agrees to host 2023 Africa Cup of Nations

CAF President Ahmad secured a major political victory on Tuesday when Ivory Coast agreed to host the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations instead of the 2021 edition.

The leader of Africa’s football governing body secured the massive coup when he met the Ivorian President Alassane Ouattara in Abidjan on an official visit.

President Ahmad managed to convince the Ivorian leader to put forward by two years the country’s hosting of Africa’s flagship competition.

The agreement puts to bed the confusion surrounding the future hosts of the African Cup of Nations after Cameroon was stripped of hosting the 2019 edition two months ago.

In 2014, Caf awarded Nations Cup hosting rights to Cameroon (2019), Ivory Coast (2021) and Guinea (2023) but the level of preparations drew some anxiety which led to the decision to award the 2019 tournament to Egypt.

After the decision to strip Cameroon of the hosting rights, CAF agreed to put off each of the three countries’ hosting of the flagship tournament by two years each which sparked some backlash.

Africa’s football ruling body faced multiple legal challenges with Cameroon, Ivory Coast and Guinea all threatening to go to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) to reverse the decision.

CAF faced a major political dilemma over the Executive Committee decision after Cameroon were ruled not to have adequately prepared for the hosting of the tournament in June.

After the reported changes to the schedule, Ivory Coast – which is now set to host in 2023 – lodged an appeal with the CAS against the Caf decision to hand the 2021 tournament to Cameroon.

But with the Ivorian President Ouattara now agreeing to host the competition in 2023 and Cameroon leader Paul Biya earlier agreeing to stage the event in 2021, Ahmad will continue with his charm offensive to Guinea to seek an agreement on 2025.

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