The President of the Confederation of African Football (CAF), Ahmad Ahmad, has expressed doubts about Cameroon’s ability to host next year’s Africa Cup of Nations and again raised the possibility that the tournament might be moved.
The hosting of the 2019 AFCON has become a contentious issue following the Confederation of African Football’s decision to expand the tournament from 16 to 24 teams.
CAF President Ahmad urged Cameroon to improve their efforts to convince of their viability as hosts in February after an inspection of the nation revealed that the nation’s preparations were behind schedule.
Now, a year after challenging Cameroon to prove they can host the tournament, which will take place between June 7 and 30 2019, Ahmad has raised the possibility that it could be moved.
“I am not sure Cameroon is ready to host the AFCON,” he told KweséESPN. “There are many things which are still wanting and yet there is little time left.
“It would be dangerous to risk African players, especially the professionals plying their trade in Europe and other continents, to play under difficult conditions and facilities.”
In March, Royal Moroccan Football Federation President Fouzi Lekjaa moved to quash speculation that his country was looking to replace Cameroon as hosts, although the prospect of a new destination for the tournament surely looms large once again.
“If you are not ready, come out open and say you are not ready,” Ahmad urged but will be ready next time.
“In 1996, Burkina Faso was supposed to host the AFCON but said they were not ready, and South Africa took up the chance to host.”
Should Cameroon retain the 2019 event, it will be the first time they’ve hosted the Afcon since the 1972 edition, which was won by the Republic of Congo after they defeated Mali 3-2 in the final.
“If you asked me, Cameroon would be the best country to host the AFCON now because of their football history, but there are still some questions about their readiness to host a successful tournament.
“Cameroon is still having big problems with infrastructure like the pitches and even hotels,” added Ahmad. “Equatorial Guinea jumped in at the last moment to host 2015 AFCON and this can also happen.”
CAF is expected to officially pronounce whether or not Cameroon will retain the hosting rights during the CAF Extraordinary General Assembly to be held on September 30 in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt.
SOURCES: ESPN, Goal.com
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