CAIRO: Equatorial Guinea, one of the smallest countries in Africa has taken over as new host of the African Nations Cup in place of Morocco writes KEIR RADNEDGE.

The African confederation and its president, Issa Hayatou, have announced that the tournament will go ahead on the scheduled dates of January 17 to February 8.

A decision was agreed at a meeting in Malabo between Hayatou and Equatorial Guinea’s state President, Teodoro Obiang.

The four venue cities will be Malabo, Bata, Mongomo and Ebebiyin. When the country co-hosted the finals with Gabon in 2012 only Malabo and Bata were used.

As hosts Equatorial Guinea have been restored to a tournament which which they were expelled originally for fielding an ineligible player in a qualifying round tie against Mauritania.

CAF gratitude

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 people of Equatorial Guinean, its government and particularly to His Excellency the Head of State and President of the Republic Equatorial Guinea, Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo.”

Morocco, which refused to host the finals as scheduled for stated fear of the spread of ebola by visiting fans, have been disqualified. They could be banned from the next two Nations Cups.

The draw for the finals will be in Malabo on December 3.

# # # #