Zambia can confidently host 2019 AFCON-Kalu

Football Association of Zambia (FAZ) president Kalusha Bwalya has expressed optimism that the country is more than ready to bid and successfully host the 2019 Africa Cup of nations Chamopionship.

Kalusha told BBC Sport that though Zambia has never hosted the prestigious continental soccer showpiece, the timing was correct and the public was supporting their intentions.

Zambia was due to host the competition 1988 but withdrew because of a lack of funds and Morocco stepped in.

“It would be different this time. With the public’s and the government’s support, all we need is for Caf to give us a favourable response” Kalusha said.

“In 1988 the country was not ready, it was a different time. This time around we are more than willing and able and we have the capability to host a successful Cup of Nations,” he told BBC Sport.

“Zambia’s bid has to taken very seriously because the government is more than willing to assist us in this pursuit. The environment is more than ripe for us to have a favourable bid to host the 2019 tournament.

“I think that already the budgets for two stadiums are taken care of. If we do decide we are going to have two more stadiums. And we have time on our side to secure sufficient investment, so that we can have a compelling bid.” He said.

Other serious bidders to host the competition are expected to come from Kenya, Nigeria, DR Congo, Liberia and Algeria.

The countries have all indicated their wish to bid and host the competition though Zambia stands a good chance of winning the bid following the successful staging of the ongoing Cosafa Senior Challenge Cup 2013.

The Chipolopolo won the 2012 AFCON tournament in Gabon and Equatorial Guinea but failed dismally to defend their title in South Africa this year as they exited at the group stage. And with that disappointment still fresh in the minds, is there an appetite from the Zambian people to support a bid?

“Since it was announced that the Confederation of African Football was looking for partners to host the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations, the Zambian public have been on our case, willing us to say ‘we are going ahead, let’s see if we can bring it to Zambia.” Kalusha said.