Tuesday, 23 December 2014

Nations Cup 2015: Equatorial Guinea preparations underway

CAF took the finals away from Morocco, who had demanded a delay due to their fears over Ebola. The stadiums in Malabo and Bata were both used as venues when Equatorial Guinea co-hosted the 2012 Nations Cup with Gabon. However work needs to be done on the grounds in both Ebebeyin and Mongomo.

“The turf for Mongomo and Ebebeyin stadiums is going to be brought by plane from Europe,” one of the supervisors told the BBC. Work also needs to be done on the stadium structure and other facilities, but all those involved in the preparations are confident the work will be completed in time. “Time is a big challenge but the good thing is that it's not new for us to work against time,” said Francisca Obiang Jimenez, the president of the Office of National Projects, who was there supervising the works.

The new highway built to connect Bata and Mongomo.

“We have built almost an entire city, Sipopo, in about two years and we've also built a highway.

The new highway means you can travel from Bata, on the coast, to Mongomo, located near the eastern border with Gabon, in around two hours. While the stadiums look set to be ready in time, having enough accommodation could be a challenge for the organisers in both Mongomo

and Ebebeyin. Some of the social housing buildings that could be used for accommodation during the Nations Cup Ebebeyin has only one large hotel of international standards.

The government and organisers are also taking measures against the possibility of the deadly Ebola virus getting into the country. Fans being screened for Ebola at the Bata Stadium.

All passengers arriving at Malabo airport from abroad are having their temperature checked. There was also an Ebola screening exercise at Bata stadium, before a match of the CEMAC (Economic Community of Central African States) Cup, which is currently being staged in Equatorial Guinea.

“During the Cup of Nations, there will be other controls and this kind of protection will be happening further away from the stadium,” a local fan, Juan Esono, told us.

A Cameroonian working at the Mongomo stadium told BBC Sport: “I've been checked many times for Ebola when crossing the border near Ebebeyin. So I don't think there will be a problem with the virus here.”


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