Africa: Date Set for 2021 Afcon Draws

The official draw ceremony for the delayed 2021 Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) will be held in Yaounde, Cameroon on August 17, the Confederation of African Football (Caf) has announced.

The draws had earlier been scheduled for June 25, but the continental football body postponed it due to "logistical reasons" caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Caf Secretary General, Veron Mosengo-Omba, announced the new date in a letter to the Cameroon Minister of Sports and Physical Education and chairman of the Local Organising Committee, Prof Narcisse Mouelle Kombi on Wednesday.

Speaking following the announcement, Prof Kombi said measures have been taken to ensure adequate reception of participants and officials to the ceremony.

"Everything is moving very well as far as preparations for the draws ceremony and the Afcon tournament itself are concerned... Cameroon will host a very good draws ceremony come Tuesday, August 17," Prof Kombi told state broadcaster, the Cameroon Radio Television (CRTV).

Several inspection missions have been in the country to evaluate its preparedness to host the tournament, which for the first time will feature 24 teams.

Wednesday's announcement comes on the heels of an inspection visit of the draws' event site in Yaounde by a joint team from Fifa and Caf.

The team, which sojourned the country for three days was led by Fifa Senior Special Events Manager Antonetta Santagata, also inspected some hotels in the Cameroon capital.

Santagata told reporters in Yaounde on Sunday that she and her team were impressed with the facilities at the Yaounde Conference Centre, site of the draws event.

"I am very happy with what I have seen. This is really fantastic venue and I convinced it will be a great ceremony here," she said.

The 24 qualified teams for the tournament will thus know their opponents and venues when the draw ceremony would have taken place.

Sierra Leone, which was the last country to qualify, will return to the continent's flagship competition for the first time in 26 years, after their second participation in South Africa 1996.

Other countries that have also qualified include champions Algeria, Burkina Faso, Cape Verde, Comoros, Cote d'Ivoire, Egypt, Equatorial Guinea, Ethiopia Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Malawi, Mali, Mauritania, Morocco, Nigeria, Senegal, Tunisia, Sudan and Zimbabwe.

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