Africa Cup of Nations will be played 'somewhere': CAF president

Eslam Omar, Wednesday 12 Nov 2014

Confederation insists that Africa's most important sports event will be held in January but no host has been revealed, international reports suggest many countries including Qatar

Issa Hayatou
Issa Hayatou, President of the Confederation of African Football (CAF) (Photo: Reuters)

Confederation of African Football President Issa Hayatou has stated his determination to hold the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations championship as scheduled, between 17 January and 8 February.

"I cannot tell you where yet it will be played. All I can tell you is that it will take place. You will know where and wither it would be organised by a country or two as co-hosting with 3 or 4 days, do not be in a hurry," Hayatou said during an interview with France 24 Tuesday.

The statement came after the Confederation decided to expel Morocco from the tournament after the North African country that was supposed to host the 2015 edition asked to delay it, amid fears of Ebola.

"It is impossible to accept the delay offer for reasons you know. We are in Africa and we know our continent better than anyone. Once you postpone this event, it will open the door for everybody to ask for a delay of any competition and we will no longer be credible and cannot organize anything," he said.

"We will hurt our sponsors and partners. Everyone will say we are not ready and finally it is CAF that will pay the piper. That is what I told the Moroccans. We cannot sign our death warrant, because if we postpone this event, it will be very deadly for African football. For 57-years, we have patiently built this house, which today is the pride of all Africans. They have this festival every two-years and we are not about to leave the opportunity to anyone to destroy the work we have patiently developed over the years."

Reports spread globally suggesting other African countries to host the most prestigious football event in the continent including Angola, Gabon, Nigeria and Equatorial Guinea.

French newspaper L'Equipe even suggested that the Asian Gulf country Qatar is interested in hosting the tournament to prove its capability to organise the controversial 2022 World Cup.

"We [CAF] announced that we had a few requests from some African federations. It happened yesterday. We have not had the time to get in touch with these federations to try to define the contours of the organization," Hayatou added.

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