Yaounde (National Times)-Mixed feelings swept across the Cameroonian football public in the evening hours of Friday April 12th as Egypt used the draw for the 2019 African Cup of Nations (AFCON) to brighten its image around the world after Biya’s country lost the hosting rights of the tournament owing to insecurity and infrastructural deficiencies.
Many a football fan watched the ambiance of the draw in Cairo on their television screens lamenting. Many decried that, such would have been happened in Yaounde, Cameroon’s capital.
Clifford Munkom, an ardent supporter of football told The National Times that “ my country would have been what is trending as the AFCON approaches… but here we are today talking about Egypt that was never in the picture since 2014…I pray by 20201 we will not miss out on the same tournament”.
An entrepreneur Julius Agia rather evaluated the loss from a business perspective. Agia holds the opinion that, football power has a touristic effect which transcends businesses.
“ we are just talking about the draw and look the number of delegates in attendance…. Imagine what will happen when the tournament proper begins… That is what we are missing… an opportunity to create wealth and employment has slipped off our hands… we don’t want to talk of people who took loans in preparation for the failed AFCON”. The entrepreneur analysed.
Beyond this, many fans hold the sad feeling of having to wait for two years with uncertainty before seeing their country host the tournament.
The projects for the tournament were expected to be ready as at March 31st this year. But government is still grappling with unfinished stadia, roads, health facilities among others. The security situation of the country is yet to settle.
Whatever the pain Cameroonians may have, they at least find solace in the country’s participation at the tournament despite petitions from Comoros.
According to the draw, Group ‘A’ comprise (DR Congo, Egypt, Uganda and Zimbabwe).In Group ‘B’ we have (Nigeria, Guinea, Madagascar, Burundi). Group ‘C’ consist of ( Senegal, Algeria, Kenya and Tanzania).
In group ‘D’ there is (Morocco, Cote D’Ivoire, South Africa, Namibia). The countries to clash in group ‘E’ are (Tunisia, Mali, Mauritania, Angola). Defending champions Cameroon are in group ‘F’ alongside Ghana, Benin and Guinea Bissau.
This is the first time in the competition that 24 countries will be taking part. It was until now limited to 16 participating countries. The completion rumbles off on Friday June 21st and ends on Friday July 19th, 2019.