Rabat's Prince Moulay Abdellah Stadium will host the Opening and Closing Ceremony of the 2019 African Games ©Wikipedia

Morocco will end a 40-year absence from the African Games tomorrow with the country hosting the 2019 edition of the competition. 

They have not appeared at the African Games since 1978 after they were banned from the event by the African Union following a territory dispute over Western Sahara.

Morocco signed a treaty with the African Union in 2017, before agreeing to step in as hosts of the Games when Equatorial Guinea pulled out over financial problems last year.

"Considering the time we had to organise and welcome all these countries- it is a big operation," Rabat 2019 general manager Abdellatif Obbad said, as reported by Radio France International

"It is a challenge that we have embraced, and we will succeed."

More than 7,000 athletes from 54 nations are expected to travel to the Moroccan capital of Rabat, a record number.

They will participate across 26 sports, with competition due to start tomorrow and running until August 31. 

Kenya's world steeplechase record holder Beatrice Chepkoech will compete at the African Games in Morocco ©Getty Images
Kenya's world steeplechase record holder Beatrice Chepkoech will compete at the African Games in Morocco ©Getty Images

Athletics, rowing, canoeing, karate, swimming, weightlifting, beach volleyball, tennis, cycling, judo, wrestling, taekwondo, table tennis, fencing, sports shooting, archery, badminton and triathlon will all offer chances to qualify for next year's Olympic Games in Tokyo. 

Star names include World Championships 3,000 metres steeplechase record holder Beatrice Chepkoech of Kenya, Rio 2016 Olympic weightlifting bronze medallist Mohamed Ihab of Egypt and reigning Olympic men's under-80 kilogram taekwondo champion Cheick Sallah Cisse of Ivory Coast. 

A number of young athletes are expected to make their mark on the competition, including Buenos Aires 2018 Summer Youth Olympics 100 metre champion Rosemary Chukwuma of Nigeria. 

Egypt will aim to top the medal table for the sixth time, having done so at the 2015 edition in Brazzaville after claiming 85 gold medals, 63 silver and 68 bronze.

A group of 17 venues will be used in total, with the cities of Casablanca, El Jadida and Khemisset welcoming athletes alongside Rabat. 

Prince Moulay Abdellah Stadium in Rabat is due to hold tomorrow's Opening Ceremony, before staging athletics and the Closing Ceremony. 

Action in beach volleyball, football and judo has already taken place, with boxing, handball, rowing, snooker and table tennis set to start on the first proper day of sport on Tuesday (August 20).