Eq Guinea 'ready' to host 2012 Africa Cup of Nations

The stadium in Bata
The opening match of the 2012 Africa Cup of Nations will take place in Bata on Saturday, when co-hosts Equatorial Guinea take on Group A rivals Libya

Equatorial Guinea's Local Organising Committee says the country only needs to iron out minor details before hosting the 2012 Africa Cup of Nations.

African football's showpiece event kicks off in Bata on Saturday when the co-hosts take on Libya in Group A.

"Preparations have gone well but there are always last-minute problems during an event like this," Fernando Hermes Vega told BBC Sport.

"But Equatorial Guinea is ready to host Africa's biggest football fiesta."

The country's national team officially opened the new stadium in Bata on 6 January while Equatorial Guinea's other venue - the Nuevo Estadio de Malabo - was built back in 2003.

Vega, the secretary-general of the Local Organising Committee, said that the issue of volunteers was one area that needed to be addressed.

"The Confederation of African Football has told us that it's not just a matter of getting lots of volunteers but ones who can speak English, French and Spanish so that they can help the different nationalities.

"We are talking of very small issues here but we will be alright."

Equatorial Guinea will be staging the finals, which run from 21 January to 12 February, with fellow co-host Gabon.

The latter will stage the final in Libreville, with Bata - an Equatoguinean city on the African mainland - hosting the opening ceremony.

And Vega stresses that the organisation of the finals has brought the two neighbouring countries closer together.

"Up until now we have not had many problems because right from the start, we only had one organising committee - which we called the 2012 Local Organising Committee.

"We came up with things like a common visa for both countries and established an even better relationship between both countries which already share a common border.

"This allowed us to meet every month, either in Gabon or Equatorial Guinea, just to discuss and iron out all the little problems there were."

Equatorial Guinea's football team will be making its Nations Cup debut while the Gabonese, who are staging the event for the first time, will be contesting their fifth finals.

On Monday, the last of the three new stadiums built for the 2012 Nations Cup opened in Franceville in Gabon as the co-hosts played a friendly against Sudan.

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