Two former Cameroon internationals insist the country can successfully host the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations. Lauren and Sebastien Bassong are confident despite concerns over delays in construction work and the security situation in the country.
The pair believe Cameroon the tournament can be the “best” and will be “safe” too. “Nobody has to be worried because everything will be on time and on the right moment,” said Lauren. “I think we will be right on time. I think by the time the AFCON comes, it will be one of the best hosted so far.”
The former Arsenal defender, who won the Nations Cup twice with the Indomitable Lions, did however admit that it is understandable that people are worried about the security situation in the country.
“Security is always something that people are a bit concerned about but everything will be in the right place because Cameroon is a safe country,” he insisted.
“We have to encourage people to travel to Cameroon and enjoy Afcon.” Bassong, who spent three years at Tottenham Hotspur and was at the 2010 World Cup with Cameroon, echoed his compatriot’s assurances.
“I am sure we will be ready to welcome Afcon and it’s going to be a great competition in our home,” he insisted. “I am sure the government and the whole country has got it under control.
“There might be a bit of delay for bits and bobs but I really think we are going to be ready. What matters is to be ready on time and I think we will.” He also acknowledged that there’s been a problem with the political situation in the country but insisted the country is safe to host the tournament.
“You know that when there’s a big competition like that happening, there’s always a big buzz around it so we are always going to try to find any weaknesses and the reason maybe not to give it to Cameroon,” Bassong added.
The Confederation of African Football (Caf) president Ahmad visited Cameroon on Tuesday to assess progress in preparations for the tournament. During the visit Cameroon President Paul Biya assured him that the country will be ready host next year’s Africa Cup of Nations.
Caf announced after its Extra-ordinary General Assembly held at the end of last month in Egypt that further inspection visits to Cameroon will be carried out. Adding it would be November before a any decision is taken. Next year’s Nations Cup is set to be the first to feature 24 teams and hosted in June and July rather than earlier in the year.