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Equatorial Guinea to host Africa Cup of Nations

THANKS: CAF president Issa Hayatou (PA)

AFRICAN FOOTBALL authorities have decided to award the Africa Cup of Nations hosting duties to Equatorial Guinea following the expulsion of previous hosts Morocco for requesting to delay the tournament due to fears over the Ebola virus.

The Confederation of African Football (CAF) has confirmed the 2015 edition of the bi-annual competition will go ahead from January 17 to February 8 in Equatorial Guinea.

CAF had banned Morocco from playing in the tournament, for which it automatically qualified as being original hosts, after the North African country’s football authorities attempted to get the Cup start date pushed back, arguing it merited postponing because it did not want Ebola spreading to its borders.

To date, over 5,000 people have died from the virus, with the majority of fatalities coming in three West Africa countries – Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone.

Equatorial Guinea has previously co-hosted the Cup when it shared staging duties in 2012 with Gabon.

Despite having been banned for fielding an ineligible player during Cup qualifier in May this year, CAF have allowed Equatorial Guinea to take part for agreeing to host the tournament.

In a statement, CAF president Issa Hayatou said: “The head of state of Equatorial Guinea agreed to host the competition.

“As a result, the CAF executive committee confirms that the tournament will go ahead and Equatorial Guinea will compete as the host nation.

“CAF wishes to express its sincere thanks to the Equatorial Guinean people, its government and particularly president Obiang.”

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