In what comes as a bit of a surprise twist in the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations saga, Equatorial Guinea has been announced as the tournament's hosts. The announcement comes days after Morocco was not only officially stripped of its hosting rights after requesting postponement due to fears of the Ebola virus, but were also disqualified from the tournament altogether.
Equatorial Guinea, too, were ejected from the tournament. The Nzalang Nacional were disqualified from AFCON qualifying after fielding an ineligible player against Mauritania. If they presented themselves as alternative hosts in order for their team to qualify, it worked, because CAF awarded them entry to the finals as representatives of the host nation.
Equatorial Guinea may seem like a strange place to host Africa's celebrated tournament. The country has never qualified for a World Cup, nor has it qualified for any Africa Cup of Nations, with the exception of 2012, when they received automatic entry as co-hosts. The nation has selected four host cities. The stadiums in Mongomo and Malabo house around 15,000 people, while Bata's revamped locale can seat 40,000. Ebebiyin Stadium has recently been updated as well, although previously it held just 5,000.
The penultimate round of AFCON qualifying begins Friday and is set to be finished by next week.