Sports News of Tuesday, 25 July 2017
The owner and bankroller of Division One League side, Dreams FC who also doubles as a member of the Ghana Football Association’s Executive Committee, Kurt E.S Okraku, says he is not in favour of expanding the African Cup of Nations from 16 to 24 countries.
According to the respected football administrator, the decision by CAF to expand the numbers was not thoroughly thought through and could affect the quality of games displayed at the tournament.
Speaking on the Football Legends Night show on GH One, Kurt Okraku said, the move could also pose big logistical and infrastructure challenges to countries who may want to host the tournament in future.
He was however quick to mention that he fully supports the decision of CAF to move the AFCON from the traditional January/ February date to June/July.
“I am of the opinion that the change of the AFCON date from January to June/July is good, because it makes economic and marketing sense. We can now sell the television rights of the competition outside of Africa and we can get a lot more people watching since the European Leagues will be on break.
However, I don’t support the expansion from 16 teams to 24 teams. Look, we have about 53 countries in Africa and now we want 24 teams to play at the tournament? That is like almost half of the countries on the continent. The AFCON is supposed to be for the best teams/countries and not just anyone with all due respect.”
Africa’s flagship sporting event has featured 16 teams since 1996.
The expansion of the tournament could create problems for Cameroon, which will host the next finals, with the Central African nation’s sports minister having to deny reports that preparations were behind schedule.
According to CAF, the competition will continue to be held every two years, in Africa and only with African countries. Caf was considering whether to allow countries from other continents to compete – or even host the tournament.
The announcements follow a two-day symposium organised by Caf president Ahmad to discuss the state of African football.