Perhaps urged on by CAF, the powerful and well organized North African Football Union is urging the Confederation of African Football to relocate the hosting of CAN from Cameroon in Central Africa to Morocco in North Africa.
North African Football Union read the body language of CAF that it is likely to reject Cameroon from hosting the tournament due to paucity of funds and lack proper and coordinated local organization. The powerful union continues to mount pressure on Confederation of Africa Football to make it possible that the now first-ever, increased 24 team competitions is not conducted under constraining conditions or in shabbily finished football pitches that doesn’t have adequate specification among other things.
The powerful union has a history of engaging in rescue missions. In 2018 when the tournament was withdrawn from Kenya for some of the reasons stated above, the Moroccans came to the rescue. They were aided by Egypt, Algeria, Tunisia and Libya who are the member countries that form UNAF.
Some couple of days back, African media was awash with the news that the tournament will be withdrawn from Cameroon and is likely to be held in North Africa, Morocco to be precise at is the country that was purported to be chosen by Confederation of African Football (CAF). Cameroon which has been given ample time to prepare for and host the tournament has failed to deliver in the area of renovations of existing structures and constructions 6 or 7 months before the commencement of the competition. Some couple of days ago, Ahmad, the president of CAF was reported to have raised the possibility that the championship will be held in another country if Cameroon continues in the way and manner it is handling the affair.
THE IMPLICATIONS OF WITHDRAWING THE TOURNAMENT FROM CAMEROON BY CAF.
The withdrawing of CAN 2019 is not without its attendant consequences for the Indomitable Lion’s team and the sporting fans of Cameroon at large. This is so because Cameroon who was supposed to have the rear privilege and opportunity of being an automatic qualifier as the host country will have to win its next match against Comoros.
Before the commencement of the playoffs, and as a rule since 2017 edition, the host/organizing country automatically qualifies. However, there is a catch somewhere; the host country must be incorporated into a group to go through the routine of round-robin within the group. This in other words is no different from what obtains previously. The results will be taken into account for final classification. But only one team in addition to the host country is qualifies. Unfortunately, Cameroon has been included in group B, which is a strong group. Morocco, Comoros and Malawi comprised the other 3 teams within group B. Until the recent decision by CAF, the standings were quite clear, Morocco have secured a place for itself as the group leaders after 5 meetings as well as Cameroon being host country.
Well, as the saying goes, “the tables have turned round”, and since then, the situation has changed too. The Atlas Lions of Morocco who top the group with 10 points will play in the finals, irrespective of their result with Malawi and whether Morocco host’s the championship or not. But the Cameroonians, who are second with eight points, are obviously no longer automatically qualified. Cameroon must win or at least draw in its match against Comoros in Yaounde on the 22 of March, 2019 to validate its ticket. Wherefore the case is a defeat, the indomitable lions of Cameroon will be eliminated and of course kiss its already secured second place good bye.
Cameroon has found itself in a fix, partly through no fault of its own if the withdrawal is effected through and through. For starters, it did not officially approach CAF for the tournament to be withdrawn from Cameroon for whatever reason, nor did it asked for additional funds in other to augment the seemingly scarce resources at its disposal or for an extension. I think for CAF to unanimously agree to withdraw the championship from Cameroon without recourse to guaranteeing the already secured place of the indomitable lions is a great deal of injustice. This case is quite different from what transpired in 2015 when Morocco officially declared to CAF that it will not hold the championship because of the rampant spread of Ebola Virus in West African countries at the time. It went further to refuse hosting the championship despite the ultimatum giving to it by CAF to acknowledge hosting it irrespective of Ebola or not.
In addition to medical risks and motivated by humanitarian reasons since it is our responsibility to welcome all our guests and supporters in the best conditions in accordance with the culture and hospitality of Moroccan traditions. Government of Morocco.
The Moroccans where logically eliminated from the tournament despite having secured a sport in the CAN finals which took place in Equatorial Guinea, the country that came to the rescue of CAF at such a notice despite not been on standby.
The Cameroonian government has assured CAF by pledging to complete all renovations and infrastructural development planned for the CAN in good time despite the announcement by the African football body to withdraw hosting rights by an official statement.
The AFCON 2019 infrastructure “which belongs to the Cameroonian people” will be completed “at the right time, as promised by the Head of State”, reads a statement released by the Minister of Communication, Issa Tchiroma Bakary on Saturday.
In the event that Cameroon looses out at the end of the day, I am sure it will economic incur losses that will take a great deal of time to recover from. The expected boost in economic activities for the locals and the revenue to be generated by the government will no longer be possible. Africa is not Europe or America where stadiums are busy throughout the year which keeps the stads in good conditions. We know that the already renovated stadiums and newly constructed ones will be left to the roaming ghosts, goats, cattle’s, sheep’s, spiders, criminal hideouts and for every other creature until the need to use them for another tournament arises. Then the circle of sourcing for funds for renovations and other logistics commences all over again.
Finally, as this is solely the decision of CAF to withdraw the tournament and Cameroon had and is still taking part in the qualifying matches, it is my opinion that there is no locus standi or in fact the question of excluding it from the tournament. It would have been a different matter entirely if Cameroon acted as Morocco did in 2015, had it renounced hosting the tournament itself.
What do you think about the decision of the football governing body? Is it right to deprive Cameroon the opportunity of playing in the CAN finals?
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