On Friday, Cameroon was stripped of hosting the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations. The organisers of the Confederation of African Football announced that they had delayed in preparing for the continental showpiece.
With Cameroon stripped of, the next contenders for the host are South Africa and Morocco. In the press conference held in Accra seven months before the 2019 opening match, the CAF President Ahmad told, “Today we took the decision to withdraw the 2019 CAN from Cameroon.”
He said that a task force will be set up in order to launch an appeal for offers to decide upon the new organising country between now & the end of the year.
Morocco & South Africa are the two frontline contenders to step in as hosts for the event, which is expanded to 24 teams the first time in history. The last edition held in Gabon in 2017 was won by Cameroon.
Morocco who had lost to the bid by USA/Canada/Mexico to host the 2026 World Cup have been reported by many as the possible replacement for Cameroon. The North African nations were set to stage the 2015 Cup of Nations but were later stripped of due to the Ebola outbreak. South Africa is the only nation that has staged a World Cup (in 2010).
“I know that there are countries which are interested, rest assured, candidate countries will come forward,” said Ahmad. He also said that there would not be many new candidates to take up the host role, but they will leave the task force to take the final decision on which country will become the host for the Cup of Nations.
Though CAFs decision came as a surprise to Cameroon, it was sure to happen. According to a statement given by a taxi driver to a reporter, there were no roads and no stadiums.
Cameroon is facing high security issues. The country is threatened by continuous attacks from Boko Haram jihadists.
The 2019 Cup of Nations is scheduled for June 15 to July 13. There is a change in the traditional February slot. Also, this is the first time the Cup of Nations will feature 24 teams, increased from 16.