CAIRO: The 2015 Africa Cup of Nations will be played as originally scheduled with new hosting country set to be chosen soon, according to CAF president Issa Hayatou.
On Saturday, original hosts Morocco repeated its demand that the tournament be postponed for a year because of the widening ebola epidemic currently in several west African countries.
African football bosses, however, refuse to change the dates. The tournament will start on January 17 with the final on February 8. Morocco have been disqualified.
The only issue yet to be decided after a meeting of the CAF executive committee today in Cairo is where is will take place. Angola, Gabon and Nigeria have been mentioned as possible substitutes. Angola staged the 2010 finals while Gabon co-hosted the tournament two years ago.
In a meeting with Egyptian Sports Minister Khaled Abdel-Aziz at CAF headquarters in Cairo before the executive meeting, Hayatou had stressed that tournament was essential for African football finance.
He said: “We will decide the new hosting country in the coming few days. Delaying the date will be like an end to CAF.”
Hayatou is senior vice-president of world federation FIFA so his comment begs the question of how Africa and its football associations use the millions of dollars handed out every year by the world federation.
Junior Binyam, a CAF spokesman, would not reveal the names of the countries vying to replace Morocco, saying only that there were “a few candidates. But time is running away from us so you will find out within a few days.”
The statement added: “These applications are currently under review, and the executive committee will finalise the selection of the successful national association shortly and confirm the place and date of the draw of the final tournament at the same time.
“The executive committee confirms the continuation of qualifiers match-days five and six, which will be held during the month [14-15 November and 19 November], paving the way for the qualification of the 15 teams that will be joining the team of the host country.”