Cameroon: the African Cup of Nations will take place

The African round ball is staying the course: despite insistent rumors of postponement or cancellation due to Covid-19, the African Football Confederation (CAF) has confirmed that the African Cup of Nations (CAN) will be held. well in Cameroon from January 9 to February 6. “On January 9, I will come to see [le match d’ouverture] between Cameroon and Burkina Faso ”, South African Patrice Motsepe, CAF president, told the press on Tuesday 21 December after a meeting with the Cameroonian head of state. “Delighted to have exchanged our points of view with Patrice Motsepe”, was quick to twitter Paul Biya, 88 years old, including thirty-nine years in power.

The variant “Omicron is a huge challenge”, however, stressed Mr. Motsepe, who assured that “No one will be admitted to the stadiums without a PCR test”, while the organizers had already announced the obligation of vaccine and test to access the stadiums. The president of CAF also assured to be aware of the proliferation of « faux tests », but that the organization “Dealt with these problems”. Mr. Motsepe made a statement to the press alongside the new president of the Cameroon Football Federation (Fecafoot), Samuel Eto’o, ex-international of the Indomitable Lions. “I will also be there when the trophy is handed over by Eto’o” at the end of the competition, continued Motsepe.

Read also What awaits Samuel Eto’o, new president of Cameroonian football

On the issue of the delay in infrastructure, subject of CAF discontent, the president of the African football body assured that “A very good job has been done”. CAF’s main concern concerned the surroundings of the new Olembé stadium in Yaoundé, one of the five arenas where the matches are to be held. The start of the 33e edition of the CAN will therefore be given on January 9 in this arena which can accommodate some 60,000 people.

A deadly conflict in the English-speaking regions

Matches of the competition will also take place in the English-speaking regions of the country, which has been plagued by a deadly conflict for several years between separatists and the army. Cameroonian authorities “Should refrain from organizing matches in regions where they cannot ensure the safety of players and fans”, the NGO Human Rights Watch wrote in a statement on Tuesday, also asking Yaoundé to “Put in place additional measures to prevent the spread of Covid-19”.

Last week, the European Association of Clubs (ECA) threatened not to release international players for the CAN, worrying about the health protocol of the event against the backdrop of a pandemic. In response, the government and CAF unveiled the health framework for the event on Thursday, based on tests and vaccines. But the ECA pointed out above all the risk of an absence of internationals longer than the period of availability provided for, due to the “Quarantines and movement restrictions” linked in particular to the emergence of the Omicron variant.

Read also Football: “It would be incomprehensible if the CAN does not take place”

In recent days, the rumors around a possible cancellation or a new postponement of the tournament, which will host 24 teams from the continent, were becoming more and more insistent. In 2014 in Addis Ababa, Cameroon was designated host country for CAN 2019. In January 2019, CAF estimated that the country was not ready to host the competition and awarded the organization to Egypt. . The CAN was finally to be held in Cameroon in 2021 but had been postponed for a year due to the epidemic linked to the coronavirus.

According to an opposition deputy, more than 3,000 billion CFA francs (4.5 billion euros) have already been granted in the organization of the event, a figure that the government has not confirmed.

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The World with AFP

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Cameroon: the African Cup of Nations will take place