The Confederation of African Football (CAF) seems oblivious to the Ebola epidemic sweeping across parts of the continent, and somewhat pig-headedly are insisting on organising the Cup of African Nations next year.
Morocco asked the confederation to postpone the tournament over fears of the virus, but they replied that the tournament would go on in January regardless. The North Africans are reportedly not happy, and are considering withdrawing as hosts; although official confirmation is yet to arrive.
As a pre-emptive move, CAF is sounding out the possibility of new hosts, including hosts of the 2013 tournament South Africa, and Ghana.
Youth and Sports Minister Mahama Ayariga has confirmed receipt of a letter from the confederation, and said they are looking at two issues before considering the bid: the cost of hosting the tournament and the health issues Morocco themselves are raising.
Honestly why are we even entertaining this thing? CAF members must have forgotten their brains at home if they are not willing to face the truth that a pandemic is on the continent and that a large gathering such as the African Cup of Nations might serve as a fertile ground for transmissions; and especially with a sport like football premised on physical contact.
I am the biggest football fan I know and I would tell you right now football is not that important, especially the African Cup of Nations. If the tournament is not held next year it wouldn’t cost anyone anything, and Morocco are not even asking that it not be held but that it be postponed.
Ebola is serious enough that if the slightest risk exists of one new person contacting it, everything must be done to prevent that. Persisting in the face of all evidence to organise a tournament not even everyone is thrilled with would be the very definition of folly.
Morocco is the scheduled hosts, and if CAF cannot assuage their concerns then the tournament is not fit to be held. South Africa can host again if they like but with the high risk we already have of a probable outbreak, we shouldn’t touch this proposal with a 10ft pole and the government surely must know that.