Equatorial Guinea, one of Africa's smallest countries, will replace Morocco as hosts of the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations finals, the Confederation of African Football (CAF) said in a statement on Friday.
Morocco wanted the tournament postponed over fears of a spread of the deadly Ebola virus but CAF refused and on Tuesday stripped the north African country of the hosting rights.
Oil-rich Equatorial Guinea hosted the 2012 finals with neighbours Gabon but will take on the 16-team tournament on their own from January 17 to February 8. This, despite having only two major stadiums in the capital Malabo and Bata.
The 2015 host cities are set to be Malabo, Bata, Mongomo and Ebebiyin, according to a tweet from CAF's media account on Friday. The final tournament draw will take place on December 3, 2014 in Malabo, the tweet said.
It is not clear whether the new hosts will be able to play in the tournament. Equatorial Guinea were disqualified from the qualifiers for cheating.
Qatar's offer ignored
On Thursday the planned 2022 World Cup hosts Qatar had said they were willing to help the Confederation of African football (CAF) in hosting next year's Africa Cup.
"If Qatar are officially approached, then it is prepared to help with any direction concerning the Africa Cup of Nations," said Qatar's football association President Sheik Hamad bin Khalifa bin Ahmed al-Thani.
It would have been the second time Qatar has stepped in at the last minute to host a major footballing tournament - and again as a result of an epidemic. In 1995, the country in the Gulf stepped in to host the youth World Cup after an outbreak of Cholera in Nigeria prevented the African nation from hosting the event.
jh/al (AFP, dpa, Reuters, SID)