DAKAR (Reuters) - A decision on whether Egypt or South Africa will replace Cameroon as the host of this year’s African Nations Cup finals has been brought forward to Tuesday, the Confederation of African Football (CAF) said in a statement.
Executive committee members were initially set to vote in Dakar on Wednesday but will now do so 24 hours earlier, with the decision to be announced at a subsequent news conference.
The CAF did not provide a reason for the change in the statement.
Egypt and South Africa were the only two countries to put forward their candidacies to replace Cameroon, which was stripped of hosting rights late last year for the June 15 to July 13 tournament.
It will be the first time there will be 24 teams at the tournament and the CAF, after several inspection visits over the last two years, said Cameroon would not be ready in time.
There are no plans to have presentations from either Egypt or South Africa but both countries have representation on the executive committee.
“We are ready to host the event tomorrow if needs be,” South African Football Association General Secretary Russell Paul told Reuters on Tuesday. “But we expect the vote will be a purely political decision.”
South Africa plans to use the infrastructure built for the hosting of the 2010 World Cup if it is awarded the tournament.
Egypt also has extensive football facilities, although in recent years attendances at local matches have been restricted because of security concerns in the wake of the Arab Spring revolution and Tahir Square demonstrations.
Morocco had been the favourite to step in after repeatedly promising to do so if needed but then surprisingly said it was not interested once Cameroon was stripped of hosting rights.
Reporting By Mark Gleeson; Editing by Peter Rutherford