Confederation of African Football (CAF) have accepted the bid of the Zimbabwe Football Association (Zifa) to host the 2010 African Cup of Nations finals.
Zifa chairman Rafik Khan said on Monday that the fact that CAF have accepted their bid document and all its contents was an indication that Zimbabwe could be given the right to host the continent's football showcase.
"The race is now on. I am confident the tournament will come to Zimbabwe. CAF will now be watching us closely as we prepare to host this tournament. As we play international friendly matches as preparations for the African Cup of Nations finals in Egypt next year we would be aware that CAF are monitoring our every step," said a delighted Khan.
Other countries which have submitted their bids to host the tournament include Namibia, Angola, Senegal, Nigeria, Libya, and Mozambique. Gabon and the Equatorial Guinea weighed in with a joint bid.
The tournament which has been rotated among the west and north African countries look set to be hosted by a southern African country this time around.
The last time southern Africa hosted the continental football showcase was in 1996 in South Africa.
But among the southern African countries bidding to host the sixteen-team competition, Zimbabwe look favorites as they are likely to get sympathy from CAF after they were stripped of the right at the last minute in 2000 with the football mother body citing lack of preparedness and a government guarantee.
If Zimbabwe wins the bid, Khan and his fellow board members at Zifa will have achieved what their predecessors failed since independence.
The same leadership etched its name into the history books by becoming the first to lead Zimbabwe to their first ever Nations Cup finals appearance in Tunisia.
An evaluation committee from CAF will visit all the bidding countries in 2006 to assess the facilities presented in their bids and then report back to the CAF executive committee.
The 13-member executive committee will choose the host country or countries in May next year.