Notwithstanding the political unrest that trailed his country into the end 2017, Cameroon’s President Paul Biya has reiterated that his country will be ready to host the next African Cup of Nations (AFCON) slated for next year.
Speaking in his End-of-Year address to the nation, Biya said he had personally made a commitment to that effect as that Cameroon will put its best foot forward come 2017.
“As you are aware, in 2019, our country will host the large continental football family on the occasion of the Africa Cup of Nations. Beyond the purely sporting aspect, this will avail us an opportunity to offer our guests Cameroon’s warm hospitality.
The Confederation of African Football in December 2017 expressed misgivings about Cameroon’s preparedness to host the AFCON. CAF President Ahmad Ahmad said they will not hesitate to strip Cameroon of the rights if they fail to meet important deadlines.
“We leave the country to work with a private firm independent without influence or that whatsoever. It is up to them to provide us with the elements that will allow us after to say that Cameroon will be ready or that Cameroon will not be ready. But nothing will be negotiated,” Ahmad Ahmad said during a visit to Ivory Coast.
Given the stance of CAF and its intolerance towards inadequate preparation to make a success of competitions in its purview, President Biya’s anxiety to convince all that Cameroon will be host–ready is, therefore, a needful action.
There was talk in August last year that Cameroon was “not ready”, generating an issue and a possible relocation of the tournament. Whereas Cameroon is able to host 16 teams as was the case with Gabon in 2017. The proposed expansion to 24 teams has been ‘okayed’ by CAF at a symposium held in Morocco and it is due to be started with the 2019 tournament.
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