2018 African Nations Championship

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Morocco replaces Kenya as African Nations Championship tournament host

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CAIRO (AP) The Confederation of African Football has selected Morocco to replace Kenya as host of next year’s African Nations Championship.

CAF says its emergency committee made the decision on Saturday at a meeting in Lagos, Nigeria. It was announced Sunday.

Kenya was stripped of hosting duties for the tournament because it was way behind with its preparations.

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Morocco beat a bid from Equatorial Guinea in a fast-tracked process after CAF stripped Kenya of the tournament three weeks ago. CAF says Ethiopia also expressed an interest in hosting but didn’t provide government guarantees.

The African Nations Championship is the continent’s No. 2 national team tournament after the African Cup of Nations. The Africa Nations Championship, also known as CHAN, is contested by teams made up of home-based players only.

Morocco will now host the 16 teams from Jan. 12-Feb. 4, an early chance to test its infrastructure after also having bid to host the 2026 World Cup.

Kenya loses hosting rights to 2018 African Nations Championship

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ACCRA, Ghana (AP) Kenya has been stripped of the right to host the 2018 African Nations Championship.

The Confederation of Africa Football cited “accumulated delays” in Kenya’s preparations for the tournament, which is the continental championship for players playing in their home leagues.

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CAF made the decision to take the tournament away from Kenya at an executive committee meeting in Accra, Ghana, on Saturday and opened the bidding process for a new host on Sunday. CAF says applications must be received by next Sunday and the new host will be announced in just over two weeks.

The African Nations Championship is scheduled to be played from Jan. 12-Feb. 4.

Kenya’s preparations for the 16-team tournament were already troubled before August when its presidential elections were nullified and a re-vote was ordered. That re-vote is scheduled for next month, and the political instability has meant preparations for the soccer tournament have been undermined.

CAF also says it is opening a tender process to recruit an audit firm to examine Cameroon’s preparations for the 2019 African Cup of Nations, Africa’s top soccer event.

Like Kenya, Cameroon’s readiness to host the Cup of Nations has been under scrutiny. CAF says it needs to examine the state of Cameroon’s “infrastructure to host the tournament,” with the 2019 Cup of Nations the first to be expanded from 16 to 24 teams.