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Three Newcastle players await outcome of African Cup of Nations ultimatum

6 years ago
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Morocco have been given until this Saturday (8th November) to confirm whether they will host the African Cup of Nations finals in January.

Morocco have desperately been trying to get the tournament postponed, claiming worries about the spread of the Ebola virus if the 16 team finals go ahead.

However, the Confederation of African Football (CAF) have refused to contemplate any postponement and have said Morocco must decide before Saturday whether they will agree to still host it.

In the meantime the CAF have sounded out seven other so far unnamed countries to be emergency hosts, though several of these have already declined.

The CAF governing authority say that the Ebola fears are unfounded as of the three African states responsible for almost all of the recorded cases, only Guinea stand any chance of making the finals. Plus, as part of the precautions already in place, Guinea actually play all their qualifiers in Morocco!

No cases of Ebola have been identified in Morocco and due to the finance involved, no more than a thousand fans are expected to visit from other competing countries outside of the Maghreb region.

The tournament is scheduled to run from 17 January to 8 February in the new year, though past tournaments have seen Newcastle players such as Demba Ba, Papiss Cisse and Cheick Tiote miss anything up to five or six weeks of Premier League football, with training camps and recovery time afterwards.

Papiss Cisse and Cheick Tiote have been at risk of missing a big chunk of new year football for Newcastle and face double header qualifiers this month which will decide if Senegal and Ivory Coast make the finals.

However, the last week has seen the interesting emergence of Mehdi Abeid into the Newcastle first team, starring against both Liverpool and Manchester City.

Abeid played junior football for France but then committed to Algeria, playing for them at Under 23 level.

It would be naive to think that Abeid playing so well against big hitters such as Liverpool and Man City will have gone unnoticed by the national set-up in Algeria.

Having already qualified for the African Cup of Nations with four wins out of four, Algeria may well see it as an ideal opportunity to have a look at Mehdi Abeid when they play their final two qualifiers against Ethiopia (15 November) and Mali (19 November). With every chance of him being included in their squad for the finals if he impresses as an up and coming player.

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