CAF boss Motsepe reassures that AFCON will kick off in Cameroon on Jan 9

December 21 – In his last-minute visit to Cameroon, Confederation of African Football (CAF) president Patrice Motsepe has given some reassurances that the Africa Cup of Nations will go ahead as planned after weeks of uncertainty.

“We will all be present in Cameroon in a few weeks,” said Motsepe standing in the Olembe stadium, which is scheduled to host both the opening match and final of the continental finals.

“I am so proud of the work carried out. We can see the scale of the commitments taken so that the problems raised in recent days are resolved.”

When pressed what that precisely meant, Motsepe said: “I will meet you on January 9. I will be there from the 7th with my wife and my children because we are all Cameroonians! (…) So if I’m there from the 7th, everyone must be there on the 7th, for the event to kick off on the 9th.”

The CAF boss will hold meetings with Cameroon’s president Paul Biya to seek further reassurances over the competition. European clubs have been reluctant to release players because of the emergence of the Omicron variant and FIFA president Gianni Infantino is understood to have put his weight behind those European clubs who demand the tournament be rescheduled.

Motsepe however defended African football.  “Our generation must be the one who believes in Africans,” said Motsepe.

“We can organise a football competition as qualitative as that organised in Europe and elsewhere in the world. We have to believe in ourselves, we have to stop being negative and sceptical about our own abilities. Sometimes we are overly critical of ourselves. If we ourselves do not trust Africans, who will trust them?”

In 2019, the Africa Cup of Nations was shifted from Cameroon to Egypt at the eleventh hour because the West African country was not ready to stage the 24-team format.

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