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Morocco replaces Kenya as African Nations Championship tournament host

Italy U21 v Morocco U21 - International Friendly

FERRARA, ITALY - OCTOBER 10: Morocco’s team pose prior before the international friendly match between Italy U21 and Morocco U21 at Stadio Paolo Mazza on October 10, 2017 in Ferrara, Italy. (Photo by Alessandro Sabattini/Getty Images)

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CAIRO (AP) The Confederation of African Football has selected Morocco to replace Kenya as host of next year’s African Nations Championship.

CAF says its emergency committee made the decision on Saturday at a meeting in Lagos, Nigeria. It was announced Sunday.

Kenya was stripped of hosting duties for the tournament because it was way behind with its preparations.

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Morocco beat a bid from Equatorial Guinea in a fast-tracked process after CAF stripped Kenya of the tournament three weeks ago. CAF says Ethiopia also expressed an interest in hosting but didn’t provide government guarantees.

The African Nations Championship is the continent’s No. 2 national team tournament after the African Cup of Nations. The Africa Nations Championship, also known as CHAN, is contested by teams made up of home-based players only.

Morocco will now host the 16 teams from Jan. 12-Feb. 4, an early chance to test its infrastructure after also having bid to host the 2026 World Cup.