Despite the challenges it faced to ensure that the 2015 edition of the African up of Nations will go ahead as promised on pre-established dates, the Confederation of African Football has made a significant stride in the corporate scene as Nissan have signed on as the official global automotive supplier to next year’s Africa Cup of Nations.

With Morocco choosing to withdraw its hosting rights to the tournament after concerted efforts by the Confederation of African Football to ensure it goes ahead in the country, CAF faced a late scramble to find a new host- an eventuality which risked damaging the financial and brand value of the competition. However, Equatorial Guinea have stepped in as new hosts and the Nissan deal helps CAF prove that its premier showpiece event is still as valuable as ever.

For Nissan, the African Cup of Nations offers it a chance to widen its marketing assets in football having already confirmed Ivorian star Yaya Toure as a global ambassador.

Speaking to confirm the sponsorship agreement, Nissan Senior Vice President for Africa, Middle East and India, Takashi Hata said that Nissan was keen to tap into the unbridled passion that Africans have exhibited for football.

“Nothing unites and excites Africa quite like football,” Hata said.

“Innovation that excites is what Nissan stands for. Sharing in the joy of the Orange Africa Cup of Nations 2015 with fans will help us to strengthen our brand in Africa, which we regard as a strategic and maturing market, and to increase the excitement about our innovative products”, Hata also explained.

With a tagline that plays on ‘engineering excitement’ at the African Cup of Nations, Nissan will be expected to host a number of activation events to engage fans across the continent and also in the host cities in Equatorial Guinea.

Nissan have stepped up its interest in sports as it has signed a number of partnership deals in recent years. The brand proudly sponsors the UEFA Champions League, Rio 2016 Olympics as well as the Paralympic games. With Nissan also investing in football clubs in Australia, Asia and Europe, it will also be interesting to see if the brand will seek to invest in African football on a wider level.

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