Africa Cup of Nations to be hosted by Equatorial Guinea again
The Confederation of African Football (CAF) have decided to replace Morocco with Equatorial Guinea as both hosts and participants for the Africa Cup of Nations, which is to be held early next year.
As a result of the break of the Ebola virus, Morocco missed their deadline to confirm themselves as hosts, as they wanted the competition to be postponed, but were controversially expelled form the 2015 edition.
Equatorial Guinea have been chosen as the nation to replace them, perhaps because they held the tournament in 2012, along with neighbours Gabon. Matches will be played in four of the country’s cities Malabo, Bata, Mongomo and Ebebiyin.
CAF confirmed: “Following fraternal and fruitful discussions, the head of state of Equatorial Guinea has agreed to host the tournament from January 17th to February 8th 2015.
“The national team of Equatorial Guinea qualify for the final tournament as host country.”
President of CAF Issa Hayatou, meanwhile, added: “CAF wishes to express its sincere thanks to the Equatorial Guinean people, its government and particularly president [Teodoro] Obiang.”
A total of 16 teams will qualify for the Africa Cup of Nations, including Equatorial Guinea, despite them being disqualified previously for fielding an ineligible player in a preliminary qualifier.
Algeria and Cape Verde are the only other countries so far the make it to the finals, and the tournament draw will be made on December 3rd.
Champions in three of the last five tournaments, Egypt and Senegal face a crucial qualifier on Sunday, November 16th, with the duo lagging behind Group G table-toppers Tunisia.
The Pharaohs go into the game as 6/5 favourites, and will be able to call on the likes of Chelsea attacker Mohamed Salah and Hull City’s Ahmed Elmohamady.
Senegal, 2/1 chances, have a strong English Premier League contingent, with forwards Papiss Cisse (Newcastle United), Mame Biram Diouf (Stoke City), Sadio Mane (Southampton) and Diafra Sakho (West Ham United) hoping to help their side. Another Hammer Cheikhou Kouyate and Hull’s Mohamed Diame have also been called up.