President of the Confederation of African Football (CAF), Issa Hayatou says the regional football governing body is not contemplating canceling or even postponing the 2015 edition of the African Cup of Nations. He said doing so will present credibility problems to the CAF. “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. We will hurt our sponsors and partners. Everyone will say we are not ready and finally it is CAF that will pay the piper”, he said.
Speaking in an interview with French channel, France 24, Mr. Hayatou said the continent’s football federations have worked assiduously in the past 57 years to build a solid credibility and experience in organizing tournaments and not once within this period has the tourney been postponed or cancelled. He was reacting to questions about Morocco’s refusal to accept hosting rights for the next continental championships, AFCON 2015.
Mr Hayatou said it is imperative for the tournament to be held and on time to forestall repercussions. “You know, we have a problem with French clubs which will not release our players if we move the Africa Cup of Nations,” he told the interviewer.
Morocco informed CAF of its intention to shirk the responsibility following concerns about the Ebola outbreak plaguing some parts of the continent. Curiously however, the country is preparing to host the FIFA Club World Cup which is just 25 days away from the AFCON. This to Mr. Hayotou is unacceptable. “When we see also that Morocco is in the process of organizing the FIFA Club World Cup, only 25 days before the Africa Cup of Nations, you understand that this is an argument that must be quickly erased,” Mr. Hayatou said in the interview.
The long-serving CAF boss hinted that a substantive host will be announced in 2 days. The actual tournament is supposed to kick off from January 17 to February 8, 2015.
Countries like South Africa and Ghana have been approached to take up the responsibility but South Africa has declared that it is not ready to host while Ghana has given a lukewarm response at best.