Mbalula rules out hosting Afcon

19 October 2014 - 11:12 By Bareng-Batho Kortjaas
MASTER OF NONE: Fikile Mbalula
MASTER OF NONE: Fikile Mbalula

South Africa will not host the African Nations Cup next year, says Minister of Sport Fikile Mbalula.

Mbalula was "unambiguous" and "categoric" in ruling out the country as a replacement for the designated host, Morocco, which wants the biennial football fiesta to be postponed because of the Ebola outbreak.

"Even before taking the matter to cabinet, I can tell you unambiguously and categorically that it [hosting] is a no-no," said Mbalula on Friday.

"We don't have a ready-made abundance of resources to be shifted to Afcon.

"We did it in solidarity with Libya last year. Our budget cycle will not allow us to host Afcon. It is totally impossible."

With three months to go, Morocco wants the Confederation of African Football to postpone its premier event.

But the Confederation of African Football (Caf) wants to maintain the initial dates of the competition, January 17 to February 8. The football controlling body has written letters to several member associations, including the South African Football Association, to find out if they were willing to play host.

"In case Morocco refuses to maintain the staging of the competition at the agreed dates mentioned above," reads the letter addressed to Safa president Danny Jordaan, "Caf would like to know whether your federation would be willing and able, with the agreement of your authorities, to organise the 30th edition of the Orange African Cup of Nations 2015.

Mbalula was emphatic South Africa, the 1995 and 2013 host, was not a potential replacement host. "We would like to give this one a pass," he said.

However, Mbalula added: "We will share the responsibility to fight Ebola - we are not immune to that. We must be prepared to share our skills, our doctors, to reinforce the research to a find a vaccine."