African Union (AU) Commission Chairperson, Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma has commended the Government of Equatorial Guinea for its strong show of African Solidarity demonstrated by its acceptance to host the 2015 African Cup of Nations (AFCON) tournament in January 2015.
CAF President Issa Hayatou made the announcement on Friday, 14 November 2014, following a meeting with Equatorial Guinea President, Teodoro Obiang Nguema in Malabo. Initial host of 2015 AFCON, Morocco had requested CAF to postpone the coveted competition in 2015, amidst fears of the Ebola Virus Disease.
“The Executive Committee of CAF and President Issa Hayatou seize this opportunity to express their sincere thanks and deep appreciation to the people of Equatorial Guinea, its government, and particularly to His Excellency the Head of State and President of the Republic Equatorial Guinea, Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo,” Hayatou said.
“The Ebola outbreak in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone should not paralyse continental programs and events. Like many other challenges the continent has faced in the past, the Ebola outbreak is being surmounted and is by no means a reason to stall the African Cup of Nations,” African Union Commission Chair, Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma said after receiving the announcement of Equatorial Guinea to host the much awaited continental and global event.
The AU and CAF share common Pan African values and are deeply aware that the common wellbeing and prosperity of the continent is paramount. Meeting with the AUC Chairperson in September in Addis Ababa, CAF Executive Committee, led by its President Issa Hayatou expressed its strong support to contribute to fight against the Ebola Virus Disease.
However, Africa cannot afford to be swayed by each and every challenge the continent faces and is at a point where it faces new and old challenges, like the Ebola crisis, the threat of terrorism and conflicts.
“Football is a unique unifying force of our continent and the world. We look forward to once again, coming together and celebrating Africa together in the exhilarating 2015 AFCON tournament in Equatorial Guinea,” Dr. Dlamini Zuma said.
The AU reiterates its commitment to support CAF and the host in its preparations for the tournament, and calls upon Member States and the international community to avail Equatorial Guinea and all the participating nations all the necessary and adequate support and screening facilities.
“We should remember that we have fought and defeated many tragedies including HIV/AIDS whose spread has been significantly halted. We will defeat Ebola.” Dr. Dlamini Zuma reassured.
The tournament will take place in four cities namely Malabo, Bata, Mongomo and Ebebiyin whilst the draw has been fixed for Wednesday, 3 December 2015 in Malabo.
Below is the full statement from the AU;