Four-time African Footballer of The Year, Samuel Eto’o, has expressed his confidence that his home country Cameroon will host a “beautiful party” for the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON). The tournament is scheduled to hold from the 9th of January to the 6th of February next year and would have been preceded by the African Nations Championships (CHAN) which was originally scheduled to hold from the 4th to the 25th of April but which has now been postponed.
There has been speculation that AFCON 2021 will also be affected by the coronavirus pandemic which has destroyed the global sporting calendar. Feelers coming out of the Confederation of African Football suggest that the AFCON could be pushed back to June-July (its original dates, before organizers, requested a change due to concerns over weather conditions in the middle of the year) and Eto’o is confident that Cameroon will be successful regardless.
“Cameroon is a unique country, it’s a football country. The only regret I can have is that I cannot participate in this tournament as a football player,” Eto’o told journalists. “We were able to note with great joy all the efforts made by the Cameroonian government and the Cameroonian people by giving all the sportsmen and lovers of football a stadium worthy of the stadiums of Europe.”
He continued, “We have nothing to envy today in certain European countries. Today, my young brothers have these infrastructures. We will do everything to make them ready to offer us one of the most beautiful African Cup of Nations ever organized.
“Cameroon will be ready for AFCON. Cameroon already has everything to host AFCON.”
Eto’o’s opinion is echoed by Cameroon’s Minister of Sports and President of the Local Organizing Committee of Total CHAN 2020 and Total AFCON 2021, Prof. Narcisse Mouelle Kombi.
Speaking in the latest CAF Newsletter, Kombi said, “It is with disappointment that the many football fans in Cameroon welcomed the postponement of CHAN 2020, as well as the CAF Champions League final that our country was to host on May 29, 2020 at the brand new Japoma Stadium in Douala.”
“However, since Covid-19 was declared a world pandemic by the World Health Organization, with devastating effects in several countries, Cameroon and CAF who work in good intelligence could not do otherwise than consider the carryover from CHAN, because nothing matters more than life.”
He added, “I would like to emphasize that this is a postponement and not a cancellation of the Total CHAN Cameroon 2020. Consultations are ongoing between Cameroon and CAF officials. COCAN and Cameroon await with serenity the reorganization of the competition calendar which will certainly be the result of broad consultation between all the stakeholders in the organization of this competition.”
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