Issa Hayatou, President of Cameroon’s Football Academy has reacted with profound consternation to comments by the Confederation of African Football,CAF, president that the country will not be ready to host the 2019 African Nations Cup.
Hayatou who was CAF president for over 29 years and a senior FIFA administrator, said Ahmad’s remarks smacks volumes of bad faith and a conspiracy in the bid to take the tournament away from Cameroon.
Airing his views over Cameroon’s state broadcaster, Issa Hayatou pointed out that no country has ever been ready to host the event just two years before time. To him, Cameroon’s recent successful hosting of the Women’s African Nations Cup last year during which games were staged in two of the venues set to be used in the 2019 competition, is proof enough that the country is up to the 2019 AFCON task.
He revealed that the only time he, Hayatou, stripped a country of its hosting right was when Madagascar failed to impress the CAF inspection team four months before the deadline. “How can Cameroon be judged two years before the deadline” Hayatou quipped.
It should be recalled that, CAF’s current President, Ahmad Ahmad stated on Saturday that “even with four teams, Cameroon isn’t ready” and suggested alternative hosts would need to be found for the tournament, which is due to be the first to involve 24 teams, up from the customary 16.
Ahmad Ahmad’s claims was equally strongly criticised by Tombi A Roko, President of Cameroon Football Federation, Fecafoot. Tombi A Roko pointed out that the decision to increase the amount of participating teams and CAF’s verdict to bring forward the inspection visit, are all schemes aimed at striping the country of its hosting rights.
Cameroon last staged the African Nations Cup showcase in 1972, and has plans to have seven stadia and 25 training pitches available for the 2019 tournament, according to official sources.