By Boris Esono Nwenfor (Cameroon)
The Republic of Cameroon has been confirmed by the Confederation of African Football (CAF) as the host for the 2021 edition of the Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON).
Cameroon had been stripped of the 2019 hosting rights before they were handed the 2021 mandate but Ivory Coast appealed to the Court of Arbitration for Sports, CAS insisting on sticking to the original hosting program.
However, after CAF president Ahmad Ahmad met Ivorian President Alassane Quattara on Tuesday, it was agreed that the 2023 edition would be Ivory Coast’s responsibility. Ivory Coast’s Sports Minister Paulin Danho said: “I receive clear directives from my Head of State to work towards the fulfillment of AFCON 2023, bring peace in the divided local football and build a smooth relationship with CAF” Danho told Cafonline.
The Association of Amateur Clubs in Cameroon has taken CAF to CAS for withdrawing the 2019 AFCON hosting rights from Cameroon. CAS on Monday January 27 opened the arbitration procedure to investigate the case against CAF. However with the recent declaration by CAF and the decision by Ivory Coast, it is reported that that petition will be withdrawn.
Guinea who had originally been tasked to host the 2023 edition had already agreed to move to 2025.
This decision will now mean Cameroon has some 2 years to prepare for the expanded tournament. The stadia which are still under construction have to be delivered, hotel facilities have to be upgraded, and route networks to the stadia upgraded and security which was a big factor to Cameroon losing AFCON 2019 put in check.