Already set to host the 2022 World Cup, Qatar has stated its readiness to host the Africa Cup of Nations now that Morocco has pulled out of its duties.
The tournament is scheduled to being in January, but the CAF has no current host after its initial host nation of Morocco decided against welcoming the nations due to the ebola outbreak in West Africa and concerns over opening its borders to players and fans.
“If officially asked, Qatar is ready to offer any help in hosting the African Cup due to its strong relation with Issa Hayatou, president of the Confederation of African Football (CAF),” said Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa bin Ahmed al-Thani, head of the Qatar Football Association.
Qatar is not a member of CAF, but is a member of the Asian Confederation (AFC).
However, the impending decision on a host “concerns CAF, which all world football authorities are expected to support,” he said.
L’Equipe reported yesterday that Qatar very well could become a viable option if the CAF fails to find an in-house host. The French paper said the frontrunners at the moment for an African host are Equatorial Guinea and Gabon, although no country has officially been offered the position. Angola was initially rumored to be interested, but their country’s federation shot that down.
The tournament is set to open on January 5, with the finals scheduled for February 8. Because of Morocco’s withdrawal, their team has been disqualified from the tournament.