The Confederation of African Football (CAF) on Friday stripped Cameroon of the hosting rights for the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) billed to hold next summer.
The African football governing body says it “notes the gap between the requirements of hosting the AFCON and realities on the ground” hence the Central African nation cannot host the tournament.
CAF highlighted a number of issues ranging from slow pace of work in terms of facilities to the lingering insecurity in the Western part of the country. Hence, the hosting of the competition in Cameroon is not feasible.
“After having heard from representatives of the governmental and sports authorities of Cameroon, and reviewed the latest progress on preparations, CAF notes the gap between the requirements of hosting the AFCON and realities on the ground,” read CAF’s statement released on Friday night, after their Executive Committee meeting in Accra, Ghana.
“Furthermore, after hearing the conclusions of the CAF Security Inspection Team during their most recent visit to Cameroon, CAF concludes that the Africa Cup of Nations could not be exposed to any issues that could impact on the success of the most prestigious African competition.
“After having considered that a simple postponement of the tournament was impossible because of CAF’s contractual commitments, and the importance of maintaining the competition calendar, the CAF Executive Committee decided that the next edition of the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations could not be held in Cameroon.”
With the 24-team championship just over six months away, CAF assured that it will fast track the naming of a host for Africa’s premier football competition to be aided by an “open and urgent” bid from interested countries.
“… CAF will now initiate an open and urgent call for new host country bids to ensure AFCON 2019 takes place next summer.
“CAF will ensure that a new host is in place by 31st December 2018, and it will communicate openly and transparently on the process and subsequent decision,’ they assured.
Morocco and South Africa are expected to lead the bidding war among African countries for the biennial championship scheduled for June 15 to July 13, 2019.