By James Crook

161384002February 20 - Six countries have confirmed their intentions to bid for the rights to host the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations as the bid process looks to be one of the most fiercely-contested in the competition's history.

Kenya became the last country to announce their intentions to bid for the tournament , along with Nigeria, Democratic Republic of Congo, Liberia, Zambia and Algeria.

The Confederation of African Football (CAF) has not yet formally accepted bids to host Africa's premier football tournament, but it is expected to later this year.

Kenya, who are also bidding to host the 2015 African Youth Championships, are confident that they will secure the rights to host the Cup of Nations for the first time.

"Kenya stands top in Africa as favourites to win these bids," said Kenya Football Federation (FKF) chairman Sam Nyamweya

"As a Federation we are excited with the support of our parent Ministry in this ambitious mission."

Kenya did win the rights to host the 1996 Africa Cup of Nations, but lost the opportunity to host it to South Africa due to internal politics and failing to satisfy the CAF that there would be enough stadia to host the tournament and that they would be of a quality standard.

145596938The Kasarani Stadium in Kenya, which would host matches at the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations if the country's bid is successful

Kenya currently has two FIFA approved stadiums; the 60,000-seater Kasarani Stadium in Nairobi, which was recently renovated thanks to funding from the Chinese Government, and the 30,000-seater Nyayo National Stadium, also in the capital.

The Moi stadium in Kisumu is currently being upgraded in a 50-million shilling (£370,000/$570,000/ €425,000) project which will see the laying of artificial turf and a new perimeter wall, which is due to be completed in May this year.

The Democratic Republic of Congo, who have also never held the tournament despite winning it twice, have submitted their bid dossier to the CAF and claimed that there will be no issues with security if they are to win the rights to host.

"Don't exaggerate the security situation," Sports Minister Baudouin Banza Mukalay Nsungu told BBC Sport.

"Even in countries where people are being kidnapped and where attacks are happening, such competitions are being organised.

"Before the [2010] World Cup went to South Africa, everybody was [against it].

"But despite everything, the competition went well - and then, this year's Nations Cup has has just been held there too."

Democratic Republic Congo have stated that the tournament would be held in capital city Kinshasa as well as the city of Lubumbashi and at a new stadium in the port city of Matadi, which is due to be completed by 2019.

161373639Nigerian fans at the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations final in Johannesburg

Nigeria, winners of this year's tournament, previously co-hosted the event in 2000 with Ghana and, before that, the event independently in 1980.

The country submitted a bid for the 2013 tournament but were defeated by Libya, who went on to swap their hosting rights with South Africa, who were due to host the event in 2017, due to conflict in the country.

"We want Nigeria to host because we are capable - we did it before and we want to do it better next time round." said Nigerian Football Federation president Aminu Maiguri.

There is currently little information on other bids to host the tournament other than statements of intent, due to the CAF not yet accepting formal bids.

"We have had expression of interests but we have no yet begun the process for the bidding candidates, so we cannot release any names," said CAF general secretary Hicham El Amrani.

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