Official rubbishes postponement claims
Amid speculations that the biennial continental football showpiece, AFCON may be shifted, or at worst moved to 2022 FIFA World Cup hosts Qatar, a member of the Confederation of African Football (CAF) says there is no such consideration on the table
CAF’s Director of Communications, Alex Siewe specifically rubbished the hints that the 2021 tournament is at risk of being moved away from Cameroon and even the January date with the spread of the Omicron variant of COVID-19.
Reports had indicated that cases of the Omicron variant are expected to be higher in the coming weeks, forcing the United Kingdom (UK) to place several African countries on their travel red list.
In dismissing rumours of moving the competition away from January, Siewe said that allusion is false as the African football ruling body never discussed such possibilities.
He told BBC Sport Africa that; “We can’t keep spending time dealing with rumours”, adding; “We did not receive any other message or information from our leaders – nothing such as changing of dates or countries. We did not discuss such during all our last meetings.
“We are on site. We are working. An official delegation from Caf has been released and general secretary Veron Mosengo-Omba is joining us in two days.”
The tournament, Cameroon 2021 was originally slated to hold between June and July 2021, but that did not materialise due to the disapproving climatic conditions during that time.
In June 2021, the tournament was rescheduled for the second time as a result of the coronavirus pandemic that crippled football-related activities across the globe.
However, a former CAF’s Technical Director, Abdel Moneim Shatta, had expressed doubt over the possibility of staging the competition, saying; “The committees that went to Cameroon saw that the time was not enough to finish the preparations for the African Nations Cup, but FIFA is taking over this issue and opened an office there to run things.”
Shatta told Al Hayah TV that; “Cameroon when it requested to host the Nations Cup, the number of participants in the tournament was 16 teams, not 24, and the opening stadium in Cameroon so far there is a great deal of confusion around it.
“If the tournament is not held on time, no country can host the tournament even if it is postponed for three or four months, and if it is not held on time, it will be canceled.”
According to him; “Things in the African Union are not acceptable to me, and no one gives us consideration here in the continent of Africa, and it was easy for the President of the International Football Association to find solutions to the conflict between the date of the Cup of Nations and the Club World Cup, there’s a huge disrespect to the tournament and Africa playing the two tournaments at the same time.” – With Goal.com reports