South Africa will replace conflict-hit Libya as hosts of the 2013 CAF Africa Cup of Nations, the organisers said in a statement on Tuesday. Libya, where fighting continues for control of several cites, take over the 2017 tournament from original hosts South Africa.
A surprisingly early announcement of the swap, which was not expected before Wednesday, means South Africa will stand in for Libya a second time having held the African youth championship last April. Algeria and Nigeria were other contenders for the 2013 Cup of Nations with the West Africans claiming they should be awarded the event having been chosen as stand-by hosts five years ago in case Libya withdrew.
The swap deal was agreed after the first half of a two-day CAF executive committee meeting chaired by president Issa Hayatou from Cameroon at its headquarters in a Cairo suburb. A brief statement said the change was necessary because of the "current political situation prevailing in Libya" and added that South Africa would also take over the 2014 African Nations Championship for local-based footballers.
South Africa staged and won the 1996 Cup of Nations when cash-strapped Kenya withdrew and after successfully hosting the 2010 FIFA World Cup™, the country is perfectly positioned to run a successful biennial showcase of African football. Cup of Nations tournaments traditionally use four stadiums and South Africa have 10 World Cup venues to choose from in Johannesburg (two), Bloemfontein, Cape Town, Durban, Nelspruit, Polokwane, Port Elizabeth, Pretoria and Rustenburg.
Gabon and Equatorial Guinea co-host the 2012 Cup of Nations during January and February and the edition originally set for 2014 was brought forward with CAF deciding to stage future championships in uneven years.
CAF awarded Namibia the 2014 African women's championship, Senegal the 2015 African youth championship, Niger the 2015 African junior championship and Madagascar the 2017 African junior championship.