South Africa rules out hosting Africa Cup of Nations

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The Confederation of African Football will continue its search for a possible host nation should Morocco drop out due to the Ebola outbreak in Africa.

The 2015 Africa Cup of Nations is scheduled to kick off January 17th in Morocco, but the nation asked to postpone the tournament due to health concerns.

[ REPORT: Morocco out as Cup of Nations host ]

The CAF approached seven countries, including South Africa and Ghana, as possible replacements as the host nation. However, South African sports minister Fikile Mbalula has stated the nation will not hold the tournament.

I can tell you unambiguously and categorically that hosting is a no-no. Our budget cycle will not allow it. It is totally impossible.

We do not have a ready-made abundance of resources to be shifted to the Nations Cup. We would like to give this one a pass.

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 was called into action to host the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations, as original host Libya was going through civil unrest. They also were forced to host the tournament in 1996 when Kenya did not have enough money for funding.

[ RELATED: Cameroon to host 2019 Africa Cup of Nations ]

Nearly 4,500 people have died from Ebola after the virus began spreading through West Africa earlier this year. Sierra Leone has suspended all football matches indefinitely, while the CAF has banned Guinea, Sierra Leone, and Liberia from hosting international matches.

While the CAF will continue to look for possible host nations, the most important thing is to ensure the health and safety of all the players and fans.