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  • Pictured are South Africa's captain Siya Kolisi (L) and Egyptian striker Mohamed Salah (R).

    Pictured are South Africa's captain Siya Kolisi (L) and Egyptian striker Mohamed Salah (R). | Photo: Reuters

Published 16 December 2018

The contenders eagerly accepted the challenge after Cameroon was stripped of hosting rights in December.

Egypt and South Africa are fighting to host the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations ahead of the final decision to be announced on January 9 during a meeting in Dakar, Senegal.

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The two finalists were announced by the Confederation of African Football (CAF) on Saturday in a last-minute bid after Cameroon was stripped of its hosting rights on Dec. 1.

The South African country’s high rate of violence and a decidedly inadequate stadium infrastructure pushed the CAF to move the international football event to a more suitable location.

The pair of contenders eagerly accepted the challenge, both armed with their own formidable soccer infrastructures, to win the June tournament. Unlike its competitor and despite its world-class stadium- a relic of the 2010 World Cup, South Africa has yet to prove its qualifications.

Slotted for June 15, the number of competing teams has expanded from 16 to 24. Both countries have held the tournament at least twice.

Ghana, Morocco, and Congo-Brazzaville have shown an interest in hosting the prestigious event, although none have submitted a formal bid.

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