In a letter addressed to the Organizing Committee of the 2021 African Cup of Nations, the Confederation of African Football threatened to relocate the opening match of the competition. An ultimatum has been set for November 30 for the Olembe Stadium to be officially ready to host the match and the opening ceremony.
The Organizing Committee of the 2021 African Cup of Nations has clearly worn out the patience of the Confederation of African Football. While the pan-African body had been diplomatic until now, it has decided to bang its fist on the table. The big worry, the Olembe Stadium which is to host the opening ceremony of this edition and the first match between Cameroon and Burkina Faso. CAF has sent a letter as an ultimatum to the local committee. If by November 30 the construction work at the venue is not completed, another stadium will be chosen to host the opening ceremony and match.
In a thinly veiled statement, CAF secretary general Veron Mosengo-Omba expressed his concern about the slow progress of the work. "I am sorry to note that despite the many visits, including that of the President and Secretary General of CAF and the Vice President of CAF and the promises that followed, the actions have not followed," he said in his correspondence. The leader then said about the Olembe Stadium that: "If everything is not settled by November 30, 2021, the opening match of the AFCON 2021 will take place elsewhere. Arrangements have already been made in this direction, but it would be unfortunate for the Organizing Committee, for CAF and for Cameroon.''
Work "without progress since October 22''
Supporting photos, the secretary general of CAF points in particular "the state of progress of the exterior of the Olembe stadium" and notes that the work is "without progress since (his) last visit on October 22. In total, he details six points on which action and especially responses from the Organizing Committee of the 2021 African Cup of Nations are expected.
These points are by way of grievances such as the failure to take into account the recommendations of CAF experts on the development of stadiums. But also the ineffectiveness of the maintenance program of the training pitches in particular, the absence of LED panels and especially the lack of information on the Covid protocol for spectators who will go to the stadiums.
So many questions and points on which Cameroon will have to provide answers very quickly. Otherwise, CAF will take the lead with strong measures, of which the relocation of the opening match is only one element among others. The ball is now in the court of the Organizing Committee and the Cameroonian authorities not to spoil this AFCON 2021 which has not even started yet. November 30 is fast approaching.