Ahmad calms Guinea fears over 2023 AFCON hosting but warns there are always alternatives  

AFCON trophy

By Samindra Kunti

November 8 – The president of the Confederation of Africa Football (CAF) Ahmad Ahmad has reassured Guinea they are still clear to host the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations.

Ahmad emphasised his position on a visit to Conakry where he met with Guinea’s Head of State Alpha Condé. The CAF president also held meetings with Guinea FA president Antonio Soure in the Guinean capital. Soure heads the 2023 Nations Cup Local Organising Committee.

“Officially, CAF has never questioned the allocation of 2023 AFCON to Guinea,” said Ahmad. “We also reaffirmed to President Alpha Condé our willingness to accompany Guinea to organise the 2023 AFCON.”

He did warn that the West African country must observe a strict timetable in the lead-up to the tournament. “Guinea must be willing to respect the conditions of hosting AFCON. Otherwise, there will always be an alternative,” said Ahmad. “If Guinea is committed, I think it will respect the AFCON timing. We have the right to worry about the organisation of the Nations Cup, because if it does not work, it is CAF that bear the brunt.”

Ahmad didn’t campaign in Guinea to become CAF president and was accompanied by his vice-president from DR Congo, Constant Omari, for the one day visit to the Guinean capital. With Soure, he discussed the latest CAF reforms.

CAF has been under scrutiny for its decision to award the hosting rights for the next three finals to West African Francophone speaking countries and speculation was rife that Guinea might be stripped of the tournament.

Seven months ago, Phillip Chiyangwa, the COSAFA president, called for an enquiry. Chiyangwa was a key figure in the Ahmad campaign, and has frequently argued during that campaign that West Africa was favoured over other regions by Cameroon’s Issa Hayatou and the previous CAF regime.

In recent months Cameroon’s 2019 AFCON has also come under pressure over concerns the country may not be able to host CAF’s newly expanded 24-team tournament, but Ahmad has said that Cameroon will remain the hosts’ of Africa’ next continental tournament.

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