Egypt defenders Baher El-Mohamady (L) celebrates with his Ahmed Elmohamady (C) and Ahmed Hegazi (R) after scoring a goal during the Africa Cup of Nations qualifier football match against Tunisia near Alexandria November 16, 2018. By KHALED DESOUKI (AFP/File)
Egypt on Thursday officially signalled its willingness to take over from Cameroon as hosts of the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations, a day before the deadline for candidates.
"The Egyptian football federation (EFA) declares its candidacy to host the 2019 African Nations Cup which is scheduled to take place in June and should have been organised by Cameroon which is not prepared to host it," it said in a statement on Twitter and Facebook.
Egypt first expressed its interest in hosting the tournament on Wednesday after Morocco -- long thought to be interested in standing in for Cameroon -- pulled out of contention in a surprise announcement.
The Confederation of African Football stripped Cameroon of the tournament last month, citing delays in the construction of stadiums and infrastructure projects and question marks over security.
The shortlist of countries bidding to host the tournament is expected to be unveiled on December 25.
The 2019 tournament has been expanded to 24 teams for the first time, up from 16 at the 2017 edition in Gabon.
Egypt have won the competition a record seven times.
Dan Soko is a short story author and web content editor. He has work appearing or forthcoming in over a dozen venues, including GhanaScoop, Nigeria Daily News and CapitalBay. When he’s not frightening strangers with his post and writing, he’s most likely frightening his wife Mimi and their two mischievous cats: Buttons and Snaps. You can visit him at www.ghananation.com/author/webby.