Press Release AFCON 2019
The Cameroon Football Federation (FECAFOOT) notes with profound disquiet statements made recently by the President of the Confederation of African Football during a press conference held in Burkina Faso that “as things stand, no site in Cameroon can host the Africa Cup of Nations.”
FECAFOOT is deeply concerned by the fact that these remarks are made when the first CAF inspection mission scheduled for 20 to 28 August 2017 has not yet been fielded in Cameroon. One may justifiably question the rationale of this inspection visit as the outcome seems to have already been decided at the highest level of CAF.
FECAFOOT’s concern is further compounded by the fact that the CAF President’s statements do not reflect reality. Lately, Cameroon successfully organized the 2016 Women Africa Cup of Nations. This competition was organized hitch-free in Yaounde-Mfandena and Buea/Limbe, which have also been selected to host AFCON 2019. Needless to say that besides the letter of congratulations from CAF, the excellent organization of the 2016 Women AFCON by Cameroon earned it the “Jury Grand Prize” awarded in April 2017 in Cannes during the Heavent Awards, which rewards the best public events organized worldwide.
Concerning AFCON 2019, FECAFOOT would like to recall that on the basis of the specifications agreed with CAF, Cameroon has launched a vast programme for the construction and rehabilitation of its sports infrastructure worth hundreds of billions of CFA francs. To that end, Cameroon is receiving substantial financial support from friendly countries, namely:
- Italy, for the construction, by PICCINI, of the Olembe Sports Complex comprising notably a covered 60 000-capacity stadium and two training stadiums, various sports facilities and a 70-room 4-star hotel…;
- Turkey, for the construction, by YENIGUN, of the Japoma Sports Complex comprising notably a covered 50 000-capacity stadium and two training stadiums, various sports facilities and lodging facilities with a total accommodation capacity of 70 rooms …;
- Canada, for the rehabilitation, by SODEVI, of the Reunification Stadium and an annex stadium, as well as four training stadiums in Bafoussam;
- France, for the rehabilitation, by ALCOR, of the Mbappe Lepe and Bonamoussadi stadiums;
- the United Kingdom, for the rehabilitation, by MOTA ENGIL, of the Roumde Adjia Stadium in Garoua, as well as the construction of an annex stadium and a 70-room 4-star hotel;
- the United States of America, for the rehabilitation, by PRIME POTOMAC, of four training stadiums and Hôtel La Bénoué, and the construction of a 70-room 4-star hotel;
- China, for the already constructed Limbe and Bafoussam Omnisport stadiums which have been approved by CAF.
In addition to the support provided by these friendly countries and partner companies, FECAFOOT can also boast of the total support of the entire Cameroonian people for the organization of AFCON 2019.
In light of the above statements by the CAF President, it is difficult not to pay attention to persistent rumours about a conspiracy intended to withdraw the organization of AFCON 2019 from Cameroon in favour of another country:
- in fact, it is most curious that the decision was taken to immediately apply the new reforms in the organization of the Africa Cup of Nations to AFCON 2019. Such a situation, which unilaterally calls into question the specifications previously agreed upon between Cameroon and CAF, is tantamount to changing rules during a game. However, consistent jurisprudence reveals that changes in the organization of a competition should not apply to the edition immediately following the adoption of such changes. For example, the decision taken by the FIFA Board to change the World Cup format will not apply to Russia in 2018 or Qatar in 2022;
- it is also intriguing to note that the date of the first CAF inspection mission has been unilaterally shifted from September to August 2017, without prior notice;
- moreover, how can it be explained that more than two years to the competition, a smear and misinformation campaign claiming that Cameroon will not be ready is being carried out, despite efforts made on the ground and the assurances offered by the Government of Cameroon.
FECAFOOT wishes to reiterate that, following the election of Mr AHMAD AHMAD as CAF President, it assured him of its total readiness to work constructively with him for the development of African football. FECAFOOT remains hopeful that during his tenure, he will strive to work for the benefit of all African countries and not against some of them. Henceforth, FECAFOOT will closely monitor the actions and initiatives of the umbrella organization of African football with respect to the hosting of AFCON 2019.
Notwithstanding the aforementioned strange moves, FECAFOOT will welcome all CAF inspection missions with a constructive spirit. With the full support of the Cameroonian Government and people, FECAFOOT solemnly reaffirms that Cameroon will be ready to host AFCON 2019. In this regard, it will, together with CAF, do everything possible to ensure the hitch-free organization of this great and beautiful African football feast to be held in 2019 in Cameroon, Africa in miniature.
Yaounde, 7 August 2017
TOMBI A ROKO
President of Cameroon Football Federation
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