Monday, 20 October 2014

Sports: Nigeria shows interest in hosting AFCON 2015

The vice president of the Nigeria Football Federation.Nigeria, Seyi Akinwunmi has confirmed that Nigeria could host the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations if Morocco pulls out of staging the continent’s biggest football showpiece due to fears over the spread of the Ebola Virus Disease,

While the north African country is mauling over the decision whether to pass up the opportunity to host the tournament, the Confederation of African Football (CAF) has already written to a few countries including Ghana and Egypt to ask if they can host the Cup of Nations.

Morocco asked CAF to postpone the tournament to a later date instead of its present January/February schedule but the governing body is not ready to.

Nigeria could throw her hat in the ring to stage the tournament despite fears of the possibility of teams from Ebola-ravaged countries qualifying for the competition and bringing along their supporters.

Africa’s largest country was certified Ebola-free by the World Health Organisation on Monday, six weeks after the last case of the disease was reported and this could prompt renewed interest from international organizations.

“I think we are interested in hosting the Afcon,” new NFF vice president Seyi Akinwunmi told Goal on Monday.

“It is not strictly the purview of the NFF alone but we have been asked [if we can host the competition] and we have said yes, why not?

“I think that the National Sports Commission or the Federal Government is looking at the possibility of hosting the tournament,” said Akinwunmi who disclosed that CAF had not yet written to Nigeria.

South Africa have already turned down the opportunity to host the tournament with Safa president Danny Joordan saying: "The Afcon 2015 tournament will not be held here. That issue doesn't exist. Caf must discuss this matter with Morocco.”

With the Super Eagles struggling to qualify for the 2015 tournament, hosting the competition would give them automatic qualification to defend the title they won in South Africa last year.

It could also be a way for Nigeria to show its leadership role on the continent after successfully curtailing the spread of the disease, something for which it has already earned the praise of the international community.