Cameroon are in danger of losing hosting rights to the 2019 edition of the Africa Cup of Nations roughly seven months to the event.
The Confederation of African Football (CAF) Extraordinary Executive Committee will sit in Accra – Ghana today (Friday) with the hot potato matter top on their agenda.
The committee will sit to deliberate on “report of inspection visits of the security committee from 27th October to 1st November 2018” and give a final verdict on whether the tournament will stay in the Central African nation or to open a fresh bid for a new host.
Last month, CAF boss Ahmad while visiting the country following an invitation from the legendary Samuel Eto’o, assured that the Cairo-based football body had no intentions of taking away the championship from Cameroon but everything depended on their readiness to host.
“I thank Samuel Eto’o; it is thanks to him who has organized this visit to take away rumors left and right.
Caf does not have a plan B – Caf has never thought of withdrawing the competition from Cameroon.
We are here in Cameroon to say we are not the people organizing. It is Cameroon that is hosting this competition. It is Cameroon who can say tomorrow they are ready or give us time we are not ready,” Ahmad said.
Cameroon president Paul Biya gave his word that indeed the government will pull all stops to ensure the country will be more than ready to stage a memorable event.
“Cameroon will be ready for the D-Day,” said the octogenarian.
But the reality on the ground, according to sources, suggests a slow progress in getting the six stadiums set to host the games ready in time for the tournament.
Cameroon has also been strained further by the tournament’s expansion from 16 to 24 teams midair after they were awarded the hosting rights in September 2014.
There are also growing concerns over insecurity stemming from unrest in the English speaking regions of the country.
A member of the United States Congress (House of Representatives), Dana Tyrone Rohrabacher, has written to FIFA to consider shifting the competition from Cameroon over the same.
Government restrictions on communication in the country could also work against them in trying to cling on to the competition.
According to sources, some broadcasters are concerned about poor communication infrastructure in some parts of the country which could hinder live TV transmission of the games.
Morocco is rumored to be on standby to jump in if Cameroon fails the readiness test. Egypt has also expressed willingness to step in to salvage the tournament.
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