Cameroon’s Minister Knocks CAF over AFCON Snub

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The government of Cameroon yesterday has officially reacted to the withdrawal of the country’s hosting rights for next year’s Africa Cup of Nations.

According to a publication in the country, Cameroun24.net, the CAF’s decision was in bad taste.

The government reaction came from the Minister of Communication, Issac Tchiroma Bakary who reportedly declared that the government received CAF’s decision with disappointment.

The spokesperson of the government made the statement during a press briefing some 24hours after the decision was taken by the Confederation of African Football, CAF.

The full statement read thus: “The Government of the Republic of Cameroon has taken note with dismay of the decision taken by the CAF Executive Committee, which met in Accra last November 30, 2018, to withdraw the hosting of the 2019 AFCON from Cameroon.

“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.”

According to the Minister the decision is not a reflection of Cameroon’s determination to organise a magnificent football jamboree.

The Minister explained that, “this decision is unmerited considering the resolve of the Head of State and the people of Cameroon to make all-out effort to host a remarkable celebration of African football in 2019.”

He holds that the CAF decision is unfair and undeserving, “It is clear from the outset of this matter, that, our country has been subjected to a treatment which can therefore give rise to questioning.”

He used the occasion to call on Cameroonians to be upbeat. “In the face of this blatant injustice, the Government of the Republic urges the People of Cameroon to remain calm and not to indulge into futile arguments.”

The Minister of Communication noted that despite the recent developments, Cameroon will continue construction of its sports infrastructure.

“Cameroon has put in a creditable performance. It 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 the Head of State.”

The Minister added that, “nevertheless, it is worth underscoring that 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.”

Cameroon is one of the leading football nations on the continent. The country has won five African Cup of Nations Championship five times and was the first African nation to reach the quarter finals of the World Cup.

Meanwhile, Sierra Leone have been disqualified from the 2019 African Cup of Nations qualifying competition, the Confederation of African Football (CAF) said yesterday.

Football’s world governing body FIFA had suspended the Sierra Leone Football Association (SLFA) in October due to “government interference”.

CAF’s decision means Kenya and Ghana are assured of first and second place in Sierra Leone’s group F and have therefore booked their place in next year’s finals.

“Sierra Leone is disqualified from the qualifiers and all its matches are annulled,” Caf said in a statement.

The row stems from the decision of Sierra Leone’s anti-corruption commission to sack SLFA president Isha Johansen and general secretary Christopher Kamara during an ongoing probe into corruption and mismanagement.

In October, CAF cancelled two matches pitting Sierra Leone against Ghana due to the dispute between Freetown and FIFA.

The 2019 finals have been plunged into uncertainty and chaos after CAF last week stripped Cameroon of the right to host the tournament, citing delays caused by infrastructure work.

The organisation has yet to determine the new host country but said it would reach a decision by the end of the year.