Africa Cup dates stay despite Ebola fear

Hosts Morocco wanted it postponed but given until November 8 to decide; Ghana, Nigeria considered possible replacements.

The AFCON qualifying matches have also been severely affected due to Ebola [AFP]

There will be no change to the dates for next year’s African Cup of Nations despite the Ebola outbreak, the Confederation of African Football has said.

CAF added that hosts Morocco have until Saturday to agree to the schedule or lose the tournament.

CAF maintained its position on Africa’s top football tournament after a meeting of its executive committee in Algeria over the weekend and then meetings with Moroccan officials – who want the cup postponed – in Rabat, Morocco on Monday.

In a statement, CAF said Morocco’s football federation should now “clarify its final position” on the tournament by Saturday. CAF will meet next Tuesday to make a final decision on Morocco’s hosting, it added.

There was no immediate comment from Moroccan officials, who had maintained before the meetings with CAF President Issa Hayatou that they would stand by their decision not to host on the planned dates of January 17 to February 8.

CAF will talk to other countries willing to host if Morocco does not agree to hold the tournament on those dates, although it’s unclear if anyone wants to step in.

Possible stand-in hosts South Africa, Egypt and Sudan have all said they will not stage the tournament.

Ghana and Nigeria are believed to be considering if they want to act as short-notice hosts.

Last month, Morocco asked for the 16-team competition to be delayed because of the threat of fans arriving in numbers from Ebola-affected countries.

The virus has killed about 5,000 people in West Africa in the worst recorded outbreak.

The deaths have almost all occurred in the three worst-affected countries of Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone.

Source: AP