African Nations Cup venues 'satisfactory': Organisers

 Bata stadium
Final preparations are made in the Bata stadium in Bata, Equatorial Guinea, Friday Jan. 16, 2015 which will host the opening African Cup of Nations Group A soccer match on Saturday between the tournament hosts and Congo (Photo: AP)
AFP
Friday 16 Jan 2015
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African governing body CAF is happy with facilities in the Equatorial Guinea cities to stage the African Nations Cup despite complaints by some countries, a top official said ahead of Saturday's start of the tournament.

Fears have been expressed in particular about the small towns of Mongomo and Ebebiyin.

"In Mongomo and Ebebiyin what we have got is better than what we expected," CAF general secretary Hicham El Amrani told a press conference in the country's largest city Bata on Friday.

The two towns are hosts along with Bata and the capital Malabo, which also staged games when Equatorial Guinea co-hosted the 2012 Nations Cup with Gabon.

The small central African state has had two months to prepare after stepping in when Morocco refused to host the competition because of Ebola fears. There has been concern whether adequate facilities could be provided in Mongomo and Ebebiyin, both situated deep in the interior of the impoverished country.

El Amrani said work to lay the pitches at the two venues started around December 13 and was finished by December 25. He added that work on other facilities at the stadia was on time.

"We have four sites that are of an acceptable level, with certain imperfections, but with the priority given to the players, security, good quality playing surfaces and accommodation.

"Giving everything organised in such a short time was a real challenge," he added. Host nations normally get four years to be ready.

Eight training pitches across the four host towns have been approved by specialists, while accommodation is "satisfactory", despite concerns already expressed by Congo Brazzaville coach Claude Le Roy.

Le Roy complained of a lack of sufficient rooms for his players and staff and a lack of water at his team's hotel in Bata.

El Amrani said: "Despite difficulties at certain hotels, we believe that the majority if not all of the infrastructure for the teams is satisfactory.

"Of course, things are better in Malabo, and it has not been possible to build new facilities since November 13, but overall things are satisfactory.

"The four sites are ready, the ticketing system is in place and the sale of tickets began last Monday.

"We are just having a few worries with media installations, but we are working very hard on that."

The 30th Nations Cup begins on Saturday, when the hosts face Congo Brazzaville and Gabon meet Burkina Faso. Both Group A games are in Bata.

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