Cape Town - South Africa is not ready to host the Africa Cup of Nations in
January if Morocco withdraws because of the Ebola epidemic, Sports
Minister Fikile Mbalula said Monday.
The Confederation of African Football (CAF) has reportedly approached
South Africa, Ghana and five others countries ahead of a November 2
meeting to decide on the future of the continent's premier football
But the minister tweeted: "Hosting AFCON (Africa Cup of Nations) is a
NO NO." He told South African media that the country had a
responsibility to help fight to help fight the Ebola epidemic that has
killed more than 4,500 people, mainly in West Africa, with the UN
predicting a surge in deaths and cases.
"Even before taking the matter to cabinet, I can tell you
unambiguously and categorically that hosting is a no no," he told South
"We do not have a ready-made abundance of resources to be shifted to AFCON.
"We did it (host the 2013 AFCON) in solidarity with Libya last year.
Our budget cycle will not allow us to host the (2015) AFCON. It is
"We would like to give this one a pass."
Mbalula added: "We will share the responsibility to fight Ebola -- we are not immune to that.
"We must be prepared to share our skills, our doctors, to reinforce the research to find a vaccine."
South Africa were among seven countries sounded out by the CAF as possible replacements should Morocco pull out.
The republic have twice been 'emergency' hosts of the competition,
replacing cash-strapped Kenya in 1996 and strife-torn Libya last year.
South Africa has world-class stadia having become the first African hosts of the World Cup four years ago.
Ghana have also been approached country that was approached by CAF,
according to the sports minister of the west African country.
The identities of the other five countries have not been officially revealed.
Moroccan government officials have said last weekend they wanted the
January 17-February 8 tournament postponed because they feared a spread
of the deadly Ebola virus.
But Cairo-based CAF reacted swiftly, saying the 16-nation tournament
should go ahead as planned, in a different country if necessary.
Most of the Ebola dead have been in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone.
CAF have barred Guinea and Sierra Leone from hosting Nations Cup
qualifiers. Liberia were eliminated in the preliminary rounds.
Guinea stage home fixtures in Moroccan commercial capital Casablanca.
Sierra Leone, having failed to secure a neutral venue, had to play
home games against the Democratic Republic of Congo and Cameroon in
Lubumbashi and Yaounde respectively.
CAF officials are scheduled to discuss the Ebola crisis at a November
2 meeting in Algeria and travel to Morocco the following day for
Should Morocco withdraw and more than one country offers to be take
over as hosts, a draw will decide who stages the three-week African