Football Association of Zambia (FAZ) president Kalusha Bwalya says the country is determined to host the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations finals.
Zambia is one of six countries interested in hosting Africa’s football showpiece. Kenya, Nigeria, DR Congo, Liberia and Algeria have also indicated their desire to stage the event .
Bwalya told BBC Sport the 2012 African champions will gauge how prepared they are when they host the Cosafa Senior Challenge Cup in July.
“Yes, we have the Africa Cup in mind,” he admitted.
“We have bid for 2019 although in that regard we will need four stadiums.
“By next January we will have two stadia ready for the Africa Cup and hopefully by 2019, another two will be ready so we are very near.”
He said it was important for Zambia to host the Cosafa Senior Challenge Cup because it will contribute to infrastructure development.
“It’s a great opportunity for the Zambian people to see all these teams but more importantly Zambians love competition and now they will have it in their own backyard,” Bwalya said.
“It’s a big step for us as a country to continue hosting such prestigious tournaments.”
The 14-nation Cosafa Senior Challenge Cup will take place from 6-20 July in Zambia’s capital Lusaka and the country’s central and Copperbelt provinces.
The tournament has attracted participation from Mozambique, Malawi, Angola, Zimbabwe, South Africa, Mauritius, Seychelles and Namibia while Kenya and Tanzania will be guest participants.
Other countries taking part are Botswana, Lesotho, Swaziland and hosts Zambia.
Cosafa president Suketu Patel is happy that the tournament is back after a four year absence.
“This is the pinnacle of all the tournaments we have had – the youth, under-20’s and the women. The idea of Cosafa is to have stepping stones for young kids,” he said.
“It’s a motivation for participating countries that there’s a definitive route for young kids to get to the senior team through such a competition.”