Too much delay in the work. The African Cup of Nations (CAN) 2019 was withdrawn Friday, November 30 from Cameroon just seven months to the competition. A fuzzy period is opening up, with a cabinet set up to “determine a new organizing country by the end of the year” .
“Today we made the decision to withdraw the CAN 2019 in Cameroon,” said Ahmad Ahmad, president of the African Football Confederation (CAF) at a press conference, after more than ten hours of meeting in camera closed in Accra, the capital of Ghana. “After many debates and following the inspections carried out over the last eighteen months, the CAF noted that several conditions of compliance were not met (…) and that there was a gap between what is necessary to the organization of a CAN and the reality on the ground “ in Cameroon, CAF explained in a statement released in the evening.
It was a measure expected for a host country penalized by delays in the progress of the preparation work, while the format of the tournament has increased to 24 teams. But the rest is not very clear, especially for the calendar. “We will be hiring a firm to bid for a new host country for CAN 2019,” said Ahmad. We know that there will not be many, but we will leave the choice to this office to evaluate and make visits and to leave before the end of the year the organizing country of the CAN. “
“The CAF will ensure that a new host country is found by December 31,” said the sporting body a little later, adding that “Cameroon remains a serious candidate for the organization of next edition of the CAN “ . When a journalist asked Ahmad Ahmad if that meant that the CAN 2021, attributed to Côte d’Ivoire, could return to Cameroon in case of progress, or if that meant that Cameroon could get that in 2023, the leader Malagasy remained evasive. Throwing even “to you to see” after an umpteenth raise.
Morocco and South Africa candidates?
In the immediate future, to organize the tournament next summer, which can replace Cameroon? Morocco, unfortunate candidate for the organization of the World 2026 (awarded to the trio United States – Mexico – Canada), is regularly quoted by the media as possible applicant. South Africa, the only African country to host a World Cup (in 2010) is also among the potential candidates.
Egypt has already announced that it will not apply. “Egypt will not submit an application and believes that there is a consensus for Morocco to host the competition,” said Magdi Abdel Ghani, a member of the board of directors of the Federation, according to its press officer. On 29 September, the African Confederation noted “a significant delay in the realization of infrastructure” in Cameroon.
Cameroon is also currently experiencing a tense security environment with persistent attacks by Boko Haram jihadists in the north of the country, and a conflict between the army and separatists in the country’s two English-speaking regions. What to revive bad memories. In 2010, the bus of the Togo team was strafed in Angola (three dead), two days before the kick-off of the African Cup of Nations.
“Football depends on our governments”
On Friday, Ahmad Ahmad said: “Football in Africa depends on our governments. ” ” But our priority is to preserve the interests of our players and especially our players. I do not know if there are any statistics, but many have been injured at the CANs for reasons of organizational conditions , “he added.
The history of the African Cup of Nations is rich in improbable soap operas. South Africa had hosted and won the 1996 edition of the CAN, originally scheduled for Kenya, after the latter had to throw in the towel due to financial difficulties. South Africa had also organized the 2013 edition to replace Libya, which had given up two years before the kickoff due to the armed conflict in the country.
The CAN 2015 had finally taken place in Equatorial Guinea, designated as a providential substitute after the withdrawal of the organization in Morocco. This replacement had turned to the incredible saga: Morocco had refused to organize the 2015 edition on the scheduled dates, claiming in vain its postponement because of the Ebola epidemic in West Africa. The CAF then excluded Morocco from the 2015 edition, found a fourth-speed substitute organizing country (Equatorial Guinea) and then suspended the Cherifian kingdom for the 2017 and 2019 editions. But the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) finally allowed Morocco to play the qualifiers for the 2017 and 2019 editions.
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