It is still unclear whether or not Cameroon will host the 2022 Africa Cup of Nations after CAF President; Patrice Motsepe failed to make a clear-cut statement on the issue. Speaking to reporters after a visit to the Olembe Stadium in Yaounde, he stated that some work had been done, though he mentioned a commitment to complete all the works as required.
“I am so proud and so excited about the work that has been done and you can see that there is a huge commitment and focus to make sure that some of those issues that are being put in place in the next few [sic] days there is good progress,” Mr. Motsepe noted. This indicates that all is not well until these final issues referred to are addressed.
Taking a question on when specifically, the tournament will be played, the CAF President could not respond directly, he rather stated “Well, am here from January 7, and if am here January 7, everybody must be here 7, so come January 9, they must kickoff”.
The CAF President was more skeptical upon arrival at the Yaounde Nsimalen International Airport earlier in the day when approached by reporters.
“We will talk tomorrow (Tuesday, December 21) and give you feedback…,” Motsepe said.
Mr. Motsepe is at the head of a CAF delegation to Cameroon to discuss with the country’s football authorities as well as the President of the Republic, Paul Biya, and the Minister of State, Secretary-General at the Presidency, Ferdinand Ngoh Ngoh.
Both parties have been discussing the progress made so far in Cameroon’s commitment to host the AFCON next month.
Motsepe’s failure to clearly state whether Cameroon will host the event is sequel to FIFA President, Gianni Infantino’s insistence that the competition be postponed, or simply canceled.
The FIFA boss argues that the AFCON coincides with the FIFA Club World Cup, which is due to begin on February 3, 2021. And that implies that several European clubs engaged in the competition could lose their players to the AFCON event.
Even the Egyptian club, Al-Ahly, the African champions, complain they could lose as many as ten players to their National Team, and this would compromise their chances at the FIFA Club World Cup that takes place in Qatar.
There has also been the argument that COVID19 spread, as well as growing insecurity in parts of Cameroon, couldn’t allow for an effective competition.
But various Cameroonian football legends, including the recently elected president of the Cameroon Football Federation, Samuel Eto’o Fils have condemned Infantino and FIFA’s arguments as yet another sign of disdain for Africa.