NINE years after the 2000 African Cup of Nations finals were controversially taken away, Zimbabwe has put forward a third bid to host the 2014 African Cup of Nations.
Zimbabwe controversially lost the 2000 hosting bid to Nigeria and Ghana when Africa’s football governing body, CAF, having already confirmed the Southern African country as the hosts, said it was not convinced the stadiums would be ready in time.
Zimbabwe later put and bid for the 2004 finals and lost to Tunisia.
ZIFA chairman Wellington Nyatanga said Wednesday that Zimbabwe had submitted its bid for 2014.
The African Cup of Nations hosts are announced four years in advance in order to give them time to upgrade their facilities as well as to accord them the opportunity to put everything in order.
A 13-member CAF executive committee will review all the bids before an announcement is made at the CAF Congress which will precede the 2010 Nations Cup finals in Angola in January.
Before the CAF congress, inspection visits will be carried out to the countries that have expressed their interest in order to find out whether they have the capacity to host the 16-nation football festival.
Libya, Botswana, joint bidders Benin and the Central African Republic and Morocco have put forward their bids for the tournament.
Venue ... Barbourfields in Bulawayo one of venues earmarked for finals
CAF requires four venues from four different cities and Nyatanga said ZIFA have submitted Rufaro in Harare, Barbourfields in Bulawayo, Mucheke in Masvingo, and Ascot Stadium in Gweru with the National Sports Stadium reserved for the opening ceremony and the final.
Nyatanga said Zimbabwe and Manchester City striker Benjani Mwaruwari, Warriors legend Peter Ndlovu and the Liverpool legend Bruce Grobbelaar as well as former referee Felix Tangawarima would be used to champion Zimbabwe's cause.
Nyatanga is hopeful football politics and Zimbabwe’s political problems over the last decade will not work against ZIFA’s bid.
He said: "There are people in CAF who sympathise with us and we are banking on their support. But we also need to be aggressive in our preparations."
African Cup of Nations Host Countries
1957 – Sudan
1959 – Egypt
1962 – Ethiopia
1963 – Ghana
1965 – Tunisia
1968 – Ethiopia
1970 – Sudan
1972 – Cameroon
1974 – Egypt
1976 – Ethiopia
1978 – Ghana
1980 – Nigeria
1982 – Libya
1984 – Ivory Coast
1986 – Egypt
1988 – Morocco
1990 – Algeria
1992 – Senegal
1994 – Tunisia
1996 – South Africa
1998 – Burkina Faso
2000 – Ghana & Nigeria
2002 – Mali
2004 – Tunisia
2006 – Egypt
2008 – Ghana
2010 – Angola