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Cameroon Minister reads malice in Caf decision

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By NDI EUGENE NDI
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By VINCENT OPIYO
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The Cameroon government has taken note “with dismay” of the decision taken by the Confederation of African Football (Caf) executive committee stripping the country of the hosting rights of the 2019 African Cup of Nations, saying the country has been subjected to a treatment which can give rise to questioning.

“This surprising decision, for more than one reason, is certainly unfair with regard to the huge investments made by our country, which has led to outstanding modern infrastructures as witnessed by all,” communications minister and government spokesperson, Issa Tchiroma Bakary, said in a statement on Saturday.

The government spokesperson described the decision as “unmerited” saying President Paull Biya and the people of Cameroon resolved to make all-out effort to host a remarkable celebration of African football in 2019.

He called on the people of Cameroon to remain calm and not indulge into futile arguments “in the face of this blatant injustice” by the continental soccer body.

Issa Tchiroma said Cameroon has put in a creditable performance and shall prove it to the entire world by completing with the same determination and on time the construction of these modern infrastructures belonging to the Cameroonian people, as pledged by President Biya.

He said African football would not match the exploits of other better performing continents in the absence of an ethical conduct.

“Our country, which has written the pages of African football in bold letters, will not relent her efforts in working with other African countries and international football bodies to develop football in our beloved Africa,” the Cameroon government spokesman stated.

At the Caf extraordinary meeting in Accra on Friday, the confederation said Cameroon has not met with a number of compliance conditions to host the tournament.

It noted that there were gaps between the requirements of hosting the Afcon and realities on the ground. “Furthermore, after hearing the conclusions of the Caf Security Inspection Team during their most recent visit to Cameroon, Caf concludes that the Africa Cup of Nations could not be exposed to any issues that could impact on the success of the most prestigious African competition,” the Caf statement said.

Caf said it would initiate an open and urgent call for new hosts.

The withdrawal of the hosting rights from Cameroon is a big blow not only to football fans but also to President Biya who has repeatedly said the Central African country was going to be ready on D-day.

In most of his outings, especially at home within the last two years, the 85-year-old president, who has been in power for 36 years, has always talked about the Cameroon’s readiness to organize the Afcon 2019 showing his attachment to the competition.

Offering a reception to the “Indomitable Lionesses” who emerged vice champions of the Africa Women’s Cup of Nations in December 2016, president Biya said their success was going to encourage him to ensure that the scheduled organization of the African Cup of Nations in Cameroon in 2019 will be given the necessary back-up.

At a banquet in honour of some Cameroonian athletes who won medals in international competitions, President Paul Biya on August 10 last year maintained that Cameroon was going to be ready for the continental soccer showpiece, even under the new format of 24 teams.

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