Yaoundé (National Times)-The Government of Cameroon has admitted its unpreparedness to host the 2019 African Football Cup of Nations (AFCON) and has promised to be ready for the 2021 edition.
This was the substance of an Inter-Ministerial AFCON Committee meeting held on Wednesday, December 5, 2018, in the Prime Minister’s Office.
Speaking at the meeting which is the first after CAF’s decision last November 30, the Committee members headed by Prime Minister, Philemon Yang, admitted to have erred and warned all those howling insults on CAF for withdrawing hosting rights of 2019 AFCON to shun all such practices.
Yang went as far as promising to shutdown media outlets which are propagating hate speech against CAF’s President, Ahmad Ahmad and the institution he heads.
However, the members of the Inter-Ministerial Committee charged with the organisation of the AFCON agreed to work towards the promised 2021 edition of the competition.
The members also promised not to file any case at the Court of Arbitration for Sports (CAS) as has been rumoured, but rather work towards the organisation of the 2021 edition.
However, they noted that works on all construction sites must be delivered by the end of March 2019.
Looking at the limping economic and financial situation of the country, the Minister of Finance, Louis Paul Motaze proposed that only projects directly concerned with the hosting of the competition should be maintained.
He said indirect projects such as the buying of new planes for the national career, CAMAIR-CO, purchasing of new train wagons among others would be discontinued.
His proposal was acclaimed and upheld.
However, there was very little or nothing about the very shaky security situation in the country which contributed largely to CAF’s withdrawal of the hosting rights from Cameroon.
In a recent interview, CAF’s President, Ahmad Ahmad said the body did not want a repeat of the Cabinda incident in 2010 where there was an attack on the Togolese team leading to three deaths and many wounded.
With the Government recognising its incapacity to host the 2019 event, it would put an end to the verbal war launched by some Cameroonians, especially Communications Minister, Issa Tchiroma Bakary who said the decision by CAF was “injustice” against Cameroon.
Tchiroma and some others had attacked the continental football body as well as its President for being bias against Cameroon. However, with the Government acknowledging its errors, CAF and its President, Ahmad Ahmad have been vindicated for taking a rare and monumental decision in the history of African football.
There is growing anecdote by some stakeholders and media outlets that Paul Biya would sacrifice some of his close collaborators who are directly responsible for the historic disgrace nationally and international.