Morocco disqualified from Afcon

CAIRO - Morocco have been stripped of the right to host next year's African Nations Cup, the Confederation of African Football (Caf) decided yesterday as it examined prospective replacements.

It has also disqualified Morocco from playing in the finals, which Caf said would go ahead as planned on the scheduled dates of January 17-February 8.

Morocco's removal as hosts follows the north African country's request for a postponement of the tournament over fears of the spread of the deadly Ebola virus.

Morocco believes thousands of travelling supporters from west Africa pose a risk and wanted a postponement of at least six months while the fight against Ebola intensified.

But Caf rejected any change to the planned dates citing a packed calendar. They gave Morocco an ultimatum of Saturday to withdraw their request which was rejected.

Caf said it had received "a few applications from national associations confirming their desire to host the 2015 finals on the dates agreed".

But it did not name any of them. No country has made any public expression of interest.

Caf said it would now study the applications and finalise the selection of new hosts "shortly" but did not give a date.

It will also confirm a date and venue for the draw ceremony, which had been scheduled for Rabat in Morocco on November 26.

African soccer's governing body said it would seek legal redress from Morocco based on its contractual agreement with the Royal Moroccan Football Federation which was signed in April.

Moroccan football is also likely to be heavily sanctioned.

Caf's executive committee, meeting in Cairo, also confirmed the qualifying matches set for this weekend and next Wednesday, to determine the 2015 finalists would go ahead as planned.

Meanwhile, preparations for potentially vital 2015 Afcon qualifiers continued to pick up pace at the start of the week despite the fact the 2015 finals may not even take place, rendering the last two rounds of preliminaries meaningless.

Teams face a key set of matches in the penultimate round of qualifiers on Friday and Saturday, and complete the process next week as 15 finalists will be determined by the group standings.

Algeria and the Cape Verde Islands have already secured their berths.

Defending champions Nigeria and other heavyweights like Egypt, the Ivory Coast and 2012 winners Zambia face a watershed weekend in their battle to stay in contention to make the final field.

Nigeria have coach Stephen Keshi back after uncertainty over his future, while the Ivory Coast have turned to veteran talent to try and revive their hopes.

But former captain Didier Zokora, recalled despite announcing his international retirement in August, has turned down a surprise call-up for the matches in Abidjan against Sierra Leone and Cameroon.

Egypt have an injury depleted squad as they need to beat Senegal in Cairo on Saturday and Tunisia away next week.

Zambia have purged much of the squad that won them the continental title in 2012 as they have struggled to get going in their group.

Most squads assembled on Monday as a large chunk of players travelled south after weekend club commitments at their European clubs. – Agencies

Comments (3)

I think its good for Morocco...they have got a good reason though caf yavawachisa

Mikitee - 12 November 2014

Big up to Morocco, this is the way to go you can't compromise the well being of a nation just because of a mere tournament and a few pieces of silver any nation that accepts to host the tournament will regret Ebola is deadly ana AIDS vana vadiki CAF should post pone the tournament period

Nyamhangambiri - 12 November 2014

The wishes of a nation should be respected if they are doing so to protect their population from a deadly disease. Shame on AFCON. No surprise though if FIFA had any input!

mustafa - 12 January 2015

Post a comment

Readers are kindly requested to refrain from using abusive, vulgar, racist, tribalistic, sexist, discriminatory and hurtful language when posting their comments on the Daily News website.
Those who transgress this civilised etiquette will be barred from contributing to our online discussions.
- Editor

Your email address will not be shared.