CAF President and Hall of Fame member Issa Hayatou adamantly refused to be drawn on the suggestion that the continent’s flagship tournament, the Africa Cup of Nations be postponed due to the outbreak of Ebola in West Africa.
As a result of Morocco’s insistence on it being postponed if they were to host it, CAF called their bluff and withdrew the hosting rights from them, disqualifying the country from the 2015 edition in the process.
The search went on for another host nation, and when President Hayatou took off on the short flight to Malabo Friday morning, it was obvious that some significant news was imminent.
CAF announced shortly after that Equatorial Guinea has accepted to host the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations, following “fruitful and fraternal discussions between President Hayatou and the country’s President Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo”.
The dates remain unchanged – January 17 to February 8; and four cities have been designated to host the tournament – Malabo, Bata, Mongomo and Ebebiyin. The latter two cities have newly constructed stadia that were not in place when the country last hosted (a joint hosting with Gabon in 2012).
In a statement, President Hayatou profusely thanked the President of Equatorial Guinea, President Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo and the people for coming to the aid of CAF at this time.
The final draw for the tournament will take place on Wednesday 3 December in Malabo.