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CAF may move 2015 Nations Cup to Ghana

By Vision Reporter

Added 16th October 2014 10:10 PM

If Ghana accepts to host next year’s Africa Cup of Nations finals, it could create an interesting scenario on which teams will qualify from Group E.

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By James Bakama and Agencies
 
If Ghana accepts to host next year’s Africa Cup of Nations finals, it could create an interesting scenario on which teams will qualify from Group E.

Ghana and South Africa were approached by the CAF as alternative hosts after Morocco who won the initial rights to stage the event asked for a postponement.

Last week, Morocco asked the continental body to postpone the January tournament because of fears over Ebola.

More than 4,000 people have died in the Ebola epidemic that broke out in west Africa at the start of the year.

The big question in The Black Stars’ pool that also has Togo, Guinea and Uganda, is what would become the qualification format with Ghana as new hosts.

The hosts are not subjected to qualifiers. So, will Caf have the second and third Group E teams qualifying or would it instead have only the second team and initial hosts Morocco?

The other scenario would be nullifying the Ghana results, which would be a blow to Uganda given that the Cranes pulled off away draw in their opening match in Kumasi.

This would leave Uganda at the bottom of the now three team group. Ghana, who beat Guinea 3-1 on Wednesday, had earlier drawn 1-1 with the same opposition.

Ghana currently top the group with eight points after earlier also beating Togo 3-1.

While Morocco wants a change in dates, Caf insists that the January 17 to February 8 dates will be maintained. CAF has consequently approached Ghana and South Africa as alternatives.

"Caf wrote to us and indicated that Morocco had given strong indications they would pull out if CAF did not change the dates," revealed Ghana Youth and Sports minister Mahama Ayariga.

And while Moroccan youth and sports minister Mohamed Ouzzine insisted on Thursday that his country has not withdrawn as hosts, he reiterated that they will follow the lead of the World Health Organisation, which has advised against big gatherings in the fight against the Ebola outbreak.

"Our concern is the health of Africa, and based on WHO reports and guidelines, we have to listen," Ouzzine said.

"Zero safety does not exist, but one has to take the necessary precautions so that the coming tournament will be a football feast, bringing together our African brothers, but given the current Ebola situation we don't think such a feast can take place as expected.

"We are talking about a tournament where we are expecting between 200,000 to 400,000, even one million spectators to converge in Morocco.

"I don't think there is any state or any country that has the necessary capabilities to monitor, check and control the current Ebola situation when faced with these numbers.

"This is our real problem. We don't have a problem with visiting teams, we have a problem with visitors."

But in case CAF opts for an alternative, the other question is whether Morocco will feature in the finals.

“On what grounds will they be considered? Remember they would have lost their status as hosts,” wondered one soccer analyst.

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