By Andrew Warshaw
July 17 – Having missed out numerous times on hosting the World Cup, Morocco says it is ready to take over from Cameroon in staging the 2019 African Cup of Nations “in case of lack of capacity”.
Fouzi Lakjaa. president of the Royal Moroccan Football Federation (FRMF), says his country would be willing to step in as replacements if upcoming Confederation of African Football (CAF) meetings make organisational changes that Cameroon will not be able to fulfil.
Cameroon is reportedly experiencing delays in the execution of various Nations Cup infrastructural projects and a week ago, Algerian FA president Kheireddine Zetchi said his country would also be willing to take over.
Although CAF has so far ruled out expanding the tournament to 24 teams and changing the traditional dates from January to June, Lakjaa believes this could still happen, leading to the need for more sophisticated infrastructure.
“We have the 6 stadiums in Marrakech, Agadir, Casablanca, Rabat, Fez, Tangier and Tetoua,” he was quoted as saying in the Moroccan press. “These are cities that have FIFA stadiums with all the infrastructures that go with it …matching the ambitions of Africa.”
Morocco was famously banned by CAF from two editions of the African Nations Cup after withdrawing from hosting the 2015 tournament because of fears over an outbreak of Ebola.
Cameroon’s veteran Issa Hayatou was in charge of CAF at the time of the ban and Lakjaa has not forgotten.
“In 2015, because of the Ebola epidemic, the Cameroon management had deprived us of the organisation of this competition,” he was quoted as saying. “In 2019, we will replace Cameroon to host the CAN. It is the revenge of history.”
Contact the writer of this story at firstname.lastname@example.org