As a country of over 200 million people and football as the main sport in the country, the Nigeria football-loving fans have been asking the question” when will Nigeria host AFCON” during and after the 33rd edition that was hosted in Cameroon.
Nigeria has hosted several football tournaments with the last being the 2009 FIFA U17 World Cup won by Switzerland.
In the CAF competition, Nigeria last staged the prestigious AFCON competition 1980 as sole host and in 2000 when it co-hosted with West African neighbour, Ghana; that being the first Nations Cup of Nations tournament to ever held within two countries.
But the country can host the African continent once again after more than a decade if one of the six regions can come together to host the 2024 CHAN tournament which is the second biggest football tournament in Africa after AFCON.
As one of the leading regions in Nigeria in terms of development, it will be good if the South-South can take bold steps in bringing the Africa Nation Championship to Nigeria for the first time since its inauguration in 2009.
As the richest region in Nigeria, The Governors and the sports Commissioners in the region can come together through the Nigeria Sports Ministry to make a plan to bid for the 8th edition of the Africa Nations Championship in 2024 with the 7th edition set to take place in Algeria in January 2023.
The South-South region comprising of Akwa Ibom, Bayelsa, Cross River, Delta, Edo and Rivers States has been the hub of sporting activities in Nigeria with sports facilities spread across the region.
The region is not new to many African countries because that is the place countries like, Algeria, Ethiopia, Cameroon, Zambia, South Africa, Ghana etc played the Super Eagles of Nigeria during the World Cup and AFCON qualifiers.
Unlike the Africa Nations Cup, The Africa Nations Championship only need 4 stadiums in 4 host cities and the region have 4 ready Stadiums of 20,000 minimum Capacity which is one of the requirements in bidding for the tournament and three that needs renovation and upgrade.
The South-South region coming together to host the tournament will not only boost tourism but also showcase the rich culture of the region to the world.
Below are four cities from 4 states in the region that can host the tournament if the leaders of the region come together to make a bid for CHAN 2024.
Port Harcourt City
Port Harcourt is the capital and largest city of Rivers State, Nigeria. It is the fifth-largest city in Nigeria after Lagos, Kano, Ibadan and Kaduna. It lies along the Bonny River in the Niger Delta.
Port Harcourt city is the home to Rivers United and Rivers Angels football club and has three stadiums, namely, Yakubu Gowon Stadium, Adokiye Amiesiamaka Stadium and Sharks Stadium.
As the richest in the region, the, 35,000 Capacity Adokiye Amiesiaka Stadium will be an ideal host venue with the Yakubu Gowon and Sharks Stadium as training pitches.
Port Harcourt city has an International Airport that received International flights from some parts of the world with 5 stars hotels and hospitals.
Uyo is the capital of Akwa Ibom state and one of the most popular cities in the south-south of Nigeria.
Uyo is home to the beautiful Godswill Akpabio Stadium
The city is at the heart of one of Nigeria’s oil-rich states the City has a good road network that makes it rank as one of the best in the country.
As the former home to the Nigeria Super Eagles, the city boost of an Airport, hotels and other basic Amenities.
Delta State is one of the most developed states in Nigeria. The state’s capital Asaba is etched in the northern part of the state.
Delta State is one of the states in the South-South part of Nigeria. It is also an oil-rich and agricultural producing state in Nigeria. In terms of wealth, Delta state is the third richest state in Nigeria right after Rivers and Lagos state.
Asaba is well known for social activities due to the presence of large people and social amenities such as hotels, clubs, cinemas, malls, event centres, etc and home to Stephen Keshi Stadium.
Benin is one of the oldest cities in Nigeria with a rich culture and diversity as its landscape.
The rich culture and history of Benin City can be appreciated in many notable buildings and sites throughout the city. The Royal Palace of the Oba of Benin, which was one of Nigeria’s listed heritage sites, is at the centre of the city.
The city boost of an Airport, hotels and hospitals.
The African Nations Championship (CHAN) is a tournament for players who play in Africa. It’s different from the Africa Cup of Nations, which is dominated by those who play in overseas leagues. The two tournaments are played in alternate years.
The idea of CHAN is to strengthen national competitions, which were weakened by the exodus of top-class players to more lucrative leagues abroad.
The African Nations Championship is an opportunity for home-based players to show their talent.