The Confederation of African Football (CAF) President Patrice Motsepe has said that the Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON), scheduled for next year in Cameroon, will go on as planned, ending widespread speculation that the biennial football competition could be postponed again due to COVID-19.
“I’m going to be here on Jan. 7 and I’m coming to watch football,” Motsepe told reporters after meeting with Cameroonian president Paul Biya in the capital, Yaounde, on Tuesday.
He said the CAF will be strict to ensure a COVID-19 free AFCON competition.
“Nobody will be allowed into the stadium without a PCR test. We will have to protect the fans there,” Motsepe said.
“Of course, there will be concerns about fake tests going around, but we are dealing with those issues. We have to have confidence and belief in ourselves as Africans. And we have to have confidence and belief that we can host a very successful Nations Cup in Cameroon,” he said.
The tournament was originally scheduled to be played in June and July 2021 but the CAF announced on Jan. 15, 2020, that due to unfavorable climatic conditions during this period, the tournament would take place from Jan. 9 to Feb. 6, 2021. On June 30, 2020, the CAF moved the tournament for the second time to January 2022 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
On Monday, Motsepe visited Olembe Stadium in Yaounde, which is under construction. The stadium will host the opening and closing games of the competition.
AFCON is scheduled to begin in Cameroon on Jan. 9 and run for four weeks across six host venues.