Africa: CAF Backs Cameroon to Host Afcon 2019 Tournament

Cameroonian President Paul Biya (centre) receives a gift from CAF President Ahmad Ahmad at the State House in Yaoundé on October 2, 2018. Looking on is Cameroonian soccer legend Samuel Eto'o.

Cameroonian authorities can now concentrate on preparing to host the 2019 African Cup of Nations (Afcon), knowing that they have the full support of the Confederation of African Football (Caf).

Caf President Ahmad Ahmad said in no uncertain terms that the five-times continental champions would host the 2019 tournament, dismissing any information to the contrary as "mere rumours".

"Caf has never thought of withdrawing Afcon 2019 hosting right from Cameroon. Caf has no plan B," Ahmad told the press after an audience with President Paul Biya in Yaoundé on Tuesday.

To withdraw

Ahmad was in Cameroon amidst rumours that Caf was planning to withdraw the tournament from Cameroon due to "a significant delay" in the delivery of infrastructures to be used for the continental soccer jamboree and an armed separatist movement in the two English speaking regions of the country.

"We (Caf) are not the ones organising this tournament, it is Cameroon that is hosting the competition. So, it is left on Cameroon to tell us whether they are ready or they need more time. It does not depend on Caf," the Caf president explained.

Ahmad said President Biya had given him all assurance that he would do everything to meet the Caf requirements for the hosting of the games.

Security issues

"Like I have said [before],Cameroon will be ready on the D-Day," President Biya tweeted following the one-hour meeting with the Caf chief.

A joint Caf and Fifa committee was expected in Cameroon this month to study security issues ahead of the new-24 team tournament, which will be staged from June 15 to July 13, 2019.

Cameroon had expressed readiness to host the tournament even before Caf expanded the number of participating teams from 16 to 24, and moved the competition from January to June/July.

The Caf president was accompanied to Yaoundé by second vice-president Constant Omari and Cameroon football icon Samuel Eto'o.

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