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Ghana or S. Africa could replace Morocco as Africa Cup host

JOHANNESBURG: South Africa and Ghana have been asked by the Africa Cup of Nations organisers whether they are prepared to host the 2015 tournament if Morocco withdraw over Ebola fears.

A letter from African Football Confederation (CAF) secretary general Hicham El Amrani asks an unknown number of national associations whether they would be ready to organise the event.

The letter reads in part:

“In case Morocco refuses to maintain the staging of the competition at the agreed dates, CAF would like to know whether your federation would be willing and able to organise the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations.

“Kindly note that this letter is also sent to some other federations capable of staging the 2015 edition of the event.

“In case CAF receives two or more positive responses, a draw will be made by the executive committee to designate the host of the 2015 edition.”

A senior football official in Johannesburg told AFP on condition of anonymity that South Africa and Ghana were among the countries who received the letter.

Morocco said last week that they wanted the January 17-February 8 tournament postponed because they feared it could trigger a spread of the Ebola epidemic.

Almost 4,500 people have died this year from Ebola, mainly in west African states Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone.

Guinea and Sierra Leone play home fixtures outside the country, and neither team are likely qualifiers for the 2015 tournament.

Liberia were eliminated in the preliminary rounds.

CAF rejected the Moroccan request to delay the biennial African football showpiece, but will discuss the issue on November 2 in Algeria.

African football supremo Issa Hayatou will then travel to Morocco with a delegation for make-or-break talks.

If Morocco insist on a postponement, the African body will choose new hosts.

South Africa have twice been ’emergency’ hosts, taking over in 1996 from cash-strapped Kenya and last year from strife-torn Libya.

Ghana staged the Cup of Nations in 1963, 1978 and 2008 and were last-minute co-hosts with Nigeria in 2000 after Zimbabwe failed to meet deadlines.

No country has hosted successive editions of the 57-year tournament- AFP

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