The Confederation of African Football (CAF) has insisted that the upcoming instalment of games in the Africa Cup of Nations 2021 qualification series set to hold this month must be played behind closed doors as the Confederation continues to work in consciousness of the COVID-19 pandemic.
CAF held a videoconference for the National Safety and Security Officers (NSSO) of their Member Associations to inform them and train them on the new safety and security protocol imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic and to supervise the resumption of qualifying matches for the Total Africa Cup of Nations Cameroon 2021.
The topmost directive from the governing body is the organization of matches behind closed doors and without spectators, the new accreditation control mechanism and new accreditation zones.
With Nigeria’s Super Eagles hosting Sierra Leone’s Leone Stars at the Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium in Benin City next Friday, Nigeria’s Ministry of Sports had earlier this week overruled the state government’s intention to throw the gates open for the game.
CAF’s directive now puts the country in sync with the continental body on the staging of the November 13 game. CAF’s Head of Safety and Security Department, Dr. Christian Emeruwa, stressed that ensuring a uniformly safe protocol for all is imperative.
“Our goal is to ensure that there is uniformity in safety and security operations across Africa with an emphasis on making sure that the matches are played under a safe and secured environment,” the Nigerian told CAF Media.
“We are mindful of the enormous task ahead, especially how to keep spectators and supporters away from the stadium. Hence, we felt the need to guide all National safety and security officers and appointed CAF safety and security officers on best practices under these conditions.
“The protection of the players and officials before, during, and after the match is of great importance in our operations. We need to ensure effective coordination between safety and security officers and all other health officers that will be involved in delivering each match,” he said.
In total, around sixty security officers comprising of National Safety and Security officers of Member Associations and appointed CAF safety and security officers attended the meeting, anxious to know how security protocol will be observed in the context of these international matches.
The NSSOs will receive a detailed protocol, specific to each match, which will guide them through the various stages of the organization of the matches scheduled for November 9 to 17, 2020.