Equatorial Guinea is 'nearly ready' to host Nations Cup

A hotel complex near Malabo, Equatorial Guinea
Much of the work needed for the Africa Cup of Nations was done in the build-up to the recent African Union summit in the capital Malabo

Equatorial Guinea's sports minister says the country has nearly completed all the work it needs to do before co-hosting the 2012 Africa Cup of Nations.

Equatorial Guinea are holding the tournament with neighbours Gabon, and Ruslan Nsue Obiang says work in his country is "97 percent" complete.

"Equatorial Guinea is nearly ready for the Cup of Nations," the minister said.

The tournament kicks-off on 21 January in Equatorial Guinea with the final in Gabon on 12 February.

The minister is also the chairman of the Nations Cup organising committee in Equatorial Guinea and said the country's hosting of the recent African Union summit had helped in preparations.

"The hotels in Malabo are already ok, with the African Union summit that we held last month - you could see the capacity we have in Malabo," he said.

"In Bata (on the mainland) we're dealing with the accommodation, which was more of a problem, but Equatorial Guinea is nearly ready for the Africa Cup of Nations."

The minister praised the relationship between his country and co-hosts Gabon.

"If Equatorial Guinea is organising the Cup it is thanks to Gabon, because it was Gabon who proposed that we co-host it," he told the BBC.

"There's always been a good understanding between the two states and the two organising committees - we're working together pretty well."

The minister was speaking in Portugal after a friendly match between Equatorial Guinea and Guinea-Bissau, which was won 4-1 by Guinea-Bissau.

He said that Equatorial Guinea's coach, Frenchman Henri Michel, was being given strong backing to try and get the team to perform well at their own tournament.

"He's motivated and he's seen potential in Equatorial Guinea and we're working to give him every chance, so that we can have success," Obiang said.

Equatorial Guinea's next challenge on the road to the tournament is a friendly against much-improved Burkina Faso.

The draw for the competition takes place in Malabo on 29 October.

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