Sports News of Wednesday, 26 July 2017
The next Africa Cup of Nations hosts can cater for an expanded 24-team finals, says the head of Cameroon’s FA.
After sweeping changes to the Nations Cup this week, the Central African nation will now have to prepare for eight more teams than expected.
“I spoke this morning with our country’s hierarchy and the decision is that Cameroon is ready to host,” Tombi A Roko Sidiki told BBC Sport.
After reports of slow progress in Cameroon, Morocco is keen to step in.
“Morocco will not hesitate for a second to respond favourably to any invitation to host this Nations Cup,” said the country’s FA president Faouzi Lekjaa. Caf has announced that its inspection team will visit Cameroon in September with the country having had to deny reports its preparations were behind schedule.
Morocco was set to host the 2015 Nations Cup until it lost the finals following concerns over the Ebola outbreak in West Africa.
The Moroccan capital Rabat hosted this week’s symposium on African football, where decisions such as moving the Nations Cup from January-February to June-July were taken.
This was among a raft of changes overseen by Ahmad, the Malagasy who was elected president of the Confederation of African Football (Caf) in March.
However, Sidiki is not impressed by the Moroccan manoeuvres with regard to the next Nations Cup.
“There are some countries who would like to host this competition but they should keep quiet and think about other editions and not 2019 because Cameroon will be ready,” he rallied.
Moving the Nations Cup to June allows Cameroon an extra five months to prepare for the finals.
Sidiki said he backed the expansion to 24 teams, a decision which CAF executive committee member Amaju Pinnick says will triple the African body’s income.
Despite the presence of debutants Cape Verde, Equatorial Guinea and Guinea-Bissau in recent years, Sidiki believes the expansion will open up the finals to more teams that have never qualified.
“Cameroon has always been participating but in life, you don’t need to see only your position as you should think about those who are dreaming each year to be part of this famous competition.
“This is why we think this is a right and good decision.”
The country’s national team are the reigning African champions.