Cameroon has been stripped of hosting next year’s Africa Cup of Nations, which is due to start in June because of delays in the progress of preparation for the tournament.
The decision was made by the African football’s governing body (Caf) on Friday after a marathon meeting in Accra, Ghana. Making the decision known, the Caf President Ahmad Ahmad intimated that a new country would be chosen before the end of the year to organise the tournament.
The delays in the progress of preparation have put the Caf in a tight and embarrassing situation. While the body has admitted that Cameroon did not meet “a number of compliance conditions,” it made it clear that Caf neither wanted to compromise the success of the “most prestigious African competition” nor did it have any intention of cancelling the tournament for the fear of landing in a serious legal battle with other bodies, companies or individuals due to contractual reasons. Of course, likely sanctions from the FIFA might not be unconnected with the decision of the Caf not to cancel the event.
With the stripping of Cameroon the right to host the next year’s Africa Cup of Nations, which is to be held in June and July with now 24 teams instead of the initial 16, the Caf governing body will now quickly look for a capable candidate to replace Cameroon. Morocco, which took over from Kenya to hold this year’s African Nations Championship, when the latter was deemed not equal to the task, is a very serious contender, followed by South Africa and Egypt.