GHANA's entry in the race to host the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations finals has complicated Zimbabwe's plans as the West African country has already hosted some of the tournaments that fall under specific requirements from the Confederation of Africa Football (Caf).
Caf has opened applications until Tuesday, September 30, 2014, and will announce the host in 2015.
Ghana co-hosted in 2000 with Nigeria after the games were taken away from Zimbabwe, and again in 2008, and this could be the third time.
And addressing a press conference in Harare yesterday afternoon, Sport, Arts and Culture minister Andrew Langa admitted as much.
“Zimbabwe would have preferred to go it alone, but we find ourselves hamstrung by the Confederation of African Football (Caf)'s Article 32 of the Statutes governing the application which requires that:
Any member association proposing its country for the organisation of the African Cup of Nations must have organised the final tournament of at least one of the following competitions:
The 2000 African Nations Championships (Chan);
The Under-20 African Championships;
The Under -17 African Championships;
The African Women Football Champion ships;
The Under-23 African Championships.
Zimbabwe has previously submitted bids without success, for the following continental and other championships:
The African Cup of Nations — which was awarded at the eleventh hour to Ghana and Nigeria
The 2010 African Cup of Nations — which was won by Angola.
The 2015 Fifa Women's World Cup which was won by Canada.
Tourism and Hospitality Industry minister Walter Mzembi has been pushing Zifa and the Ministry of Sport to bid.
“We are very serious about this issue. We should not do nightmares, but do dreams. We are going for a shared-hosting programme. Right now we will have to engage our neighbouring countries on that to boost our chances. This is a national project where there has to be staunch input from everyone. That is why we are taking this issue to cabinet.
“Look, South Africa is a new country after the 2010 Fifa World Cup. We really need this to put our country into spotlight.
Hosting Afcon would leave legacy assets like spruced-up stadiums, roads, hotels and training facilities,” Mzembi said last week.
On Monday, Ghana's minister of Youth and Sports Mahama Ayariga appointed an 11-member committee to work towards securing the right to host the 2017 finals, replacing Libya who withdrew due to the unstable security situation in the north African country.
Six former Black Stars players and a former world boxing champion have been appointed to serve as ambassadors during the bidding process.
The committee members include Ernest Thompson (Chairman), Abedi Ayew Pele, (vice-chairman), Fred Crentsil, Randy Abbey, Herbert Mensah (administrator and businessman), Nyaho Nyaho Tamakloe, Lepowura Nuru Deen Jawula, and Nana Sam Brew Butler (all former Ghana Football Association chairmen).
The rest are Alex Mould (CEO of the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation), Rex Danquah, a sports expert who will serve as the secretary and consultant to the committee, and Abdulai Yakubu, chief director in the ministry of Youth and Sports.
The ambassadors are ex-Black Stars players Stephen Leroy Appiah, Tony Yeboah, Tony Baffoe, Ibrahim Sunday, Abdul Razak, and former WBC Featherweight champion Azumah Nelson.
“The committee and ambassadors shall commence work immediately and stand dissolved after the Confederation of African Football pronounces on the hosting rights of the AFfcon 2017 in January 2015,” Ayariga said in a statement.